An unsigned, undated, handwritten memo among recently released Bill Clinton administration documents advises that the best way to handle issues of terrorism and religion is to dispatch a prominent Muslim to help the administration address any criticism that may arise.
"Send a Muslim!" the note reads. "This effort will get us to the real issue of 'terrorism' vs. a perceived issue of religion (Muslims against us and vice versa.)"
The memo then recommends tasking the State Department with finding a "prominent Muslim associate directly or indirectly" with the U.S. government.
The note was part of a batch of documents labeled "terrorism" that included a 1995 memo to the White House Chief of Staff from the Department of Transportation head Federico Pena advising the public of increased security at airports because of law enforcement and intelligence information showing an increase in the threat of terrorism.
Six years before 9/11 and the age of taking off shoes, body scanners and limiting liquids to fly, the memo shows Pena expressing concern by the airline industry about being the focal point of the warning.
"I would propose that the White House … publicly acknowledge that the DOT security actions are part of an administration-wide effort in response to a general increase in the potential for anti-American terrorism," he wrote.