Just hours before 9/11, Clinton rued missed chance to kill Osama
By Geoff EarleJuly 31, 2014 | 1:44pm
WASHINGTON — Bill Clinton ruminated about a missed chance to get Osama bin Laden just hours before the horrific September 11th attacks, according to new audio made public Wednesday in Australia.
He made his comments at a paid speech in Melbourne, Sky News reported.
“And I’m just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden — he’s very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him — and I nearly got him once. I nearly got him.”
“And I could have killed him,” Clinton continued, “but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I didn’t do it.”
Clinton got paid $150,000 for the speech to J.T. Campbell & Co.
Former Liberal Party head Michael Kroger was there, but said he had forgotten about a recording he had of the session until last week.
He revealed the existence of the chilling comments — just 10 hours before the first plane struck — to Sky News in a broadcast.
The existence of missed opportunities to get bin Laden have already surfaced, and were laid out in the 9/11 commission’s report.
The US tried and failed to get him with cruise missile strikes on terror training camps in Afghanistan and Somalia. One strike is believed to have missed bin Laden by just hours.
According to the commission report, national security officials debated a missile strike on bin Laden in Kandahar in late 1998. Officials predicted 200 or 300 civilians could get killed, and a local mosque could get damaged.
Some lower-level officials were “angry,” according to the report. “We may well regret the decision not to go ahead,” one official wrote.
The commission wrote that the deputy director of operations for Clinton’s military Joint Staff said later intelligence showed that bin Laden “appeared to have left his quarters before the strike would have occurred” in Kandahar.
Missing bin Laden “would have caused us a hell of a problem, but it was a shot we should have taken, and we would have had to pay the price,” he told the commission.