Skip to comments.Flashback: CLINTON S "BIGGEST MISTAKE" (Investigate This)
Posted on 05/18/2002 5:36:18 AM PDT by Republican_Strategist
We have commented on several occasions about the battle for former president Clintons legacy, particularly regarding the question of did he or didnt he do enough while president to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Shortly after September 11th, articles by the AP and the Philadelphia Inquirer charged that the Clinton administration had chances to take out bin Laden, but refused to authorize it.
Clinton denied that. His best shot, he told Fox News, was when he bombed bin Ladens camp in 98 following the attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa. In an interview with Tom Brokaw of NBC News on September 18th, Clinton said, "We never had another chance where the intelligence was as reliable to justify military action."
Last month the Washington Post ran an extensive two-part series claiming that there was in fact a significant effort to capture or kill bin Laden, but not if it meant risking the lives of women or children, or going after a government that harbored him. The extent of this effort has been hotly disputed, and a new article in Londons Sunday Times cites three times in which the Clinton administration turned down offers from foreign governments to seize bin Laden, all coming after he had been identified as a terrorist who was threatening U.S. interests.
The first instance they cite was Sudans offer to extradite bin Laden in 1996. The Clinton administration turned them down, saying there wasnt enough evidence to convict him in an American court. Originally this was denied by administration officials, but according to the Times, senior sources from within the administration now confirm it was true. In the January issue of Vanity Fair magazine, former ambassador to Sudan, Timothy Carney, confirmed it, saying it had serious implications regarding the U.S. embassy bombings in 1998, and that "the U.S. lost access to a mine of material on bin Laden and his organization." The Times reports that Clinton later described his turning down Sudans offer as, "the biggest mistake of my presidency."
The second offer the Times article details involved Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American who contributed to Clintons presidential campaign and served as a go-between for the administration and various powers in the Middle East. Ijaz presented an exchange of e-mails as evidence to prove that he had in fact met with Clinton officials and intelligence officers from the United Arab Emirates, who were offering to help to deliver bin Laden to the U.S. Ijaz says the deal was blown when Clinton sent his top counterterrorism adviser to meet the Arab leaders directly rather than continue to go through back channels.
The third offer, described as mysterious, was said to come from Saudi Arabian intelligence agencies. It was said to involve putting a tracking device in the luggage of bin Ladens mother during a visit to her son in Afghanistan, but it too was turned down. Richard Shelby, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence committee, said he was aware of a Saudi offer to help, but was not able to talk about the specifics.
Asleep at the wheel and we're in the passengers seat trying to yank the wheel out of his hand b4its2late....