“It’s hard to believe now, but back in the late ’90s, most of the Washington national security establishment — including President Clinton, the State Department, the Department of Defense — simply did not view Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda as a serious threat.”
It’s not hard to believe at all. In fact, it is still the case.
“CIA agents reveal Bill Clinton stopped them killing Osama Bin Laden and ‘preventing 9/11’ by signing a bill making it illegal to take deadly action – even when they had him cornered,” by Leah Simpson, Dailymail.com.
Former CIA agents have said they were prevented from killing Osama Bin Laden in the build-up to 9/11 because of a bill signed by President Bill Clinton.
New documentary The Longest War details how the agency could have assassinated the head of Al Qaeda before September 11 when they had him cornered….
But their hands were tied because of the Memorandum of Notification enacted by President Clinton in August 1998 that meant deadly action was forbidden.
The agents and officials working in intelligence in the late 90s also say that Bin Laden wasn’t considered much of a threat.
‘The CIA had a so-called “lethal finding” [bill] that had been signed by President Clinton that said that we could engage in “lethal activity” against bin Laden, but the purpose of our attack against bin Laden couldn’t be to kill him,’ then-CIA station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, Bob Grenier explains in the documentary that aired Sunday on Showtime.
A 9/11 Commission report states that it authorized the CIA to attack Bin Laden in other ways.
‘We were being asked to remove this threat to the United States essentially with one hand tied behind our backs,’ Grenier added in the documentary….
‘Our tribal contacts came to us and said, “Look, he’s in this location now. When he leaves, he’s going to have to go through this particular crossroads.” And so what they proposed was to bury a huge cache of explosives underneath those crossroads so that when his convoy came through they could simply blow it up,’ Grenier explained in the documentary. ‘And we said absolutely not. We were risking jail if we didn’t tell them that.’
The following day the language of the memorandum was upgraded so it was understood the CIA could kill bin Laden is there was no other option to capture him alive.
However decisions were made not to carry out numerous attacks on bin Laden’s camp in 1999 and 2000. The memorandum was also downgraded again in 1999 to ‘capture not kill’ language….
The Longest War is directed by Greg Barker (Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden)….
‘It’s hard to believe now, but back in the late ’90s, most of the Washington national security establishment — including President Clinton, the State Department, the Department of Defense — simply did not view Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda as a serious threat,’ Barker told Yahoo!
‘The handful of US officials who saw the looming threat clearly — and there were some, mostly mid-level officers at the CIA’s bin Laden unit and the counter-terrorism branch at the FBI — tried in vain to raise alarm bells at the highest levels, but were often ignored and even ridiculed.’…
Just 10 hours before the September 11 attacks, Clinton admitted to an audience in Australia that he’s had opportunities to kill bin Laden.
‘I’m just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden — he’s a very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him — and I nearly got him once,’ Clinton told a small group of business leaders in Melbourne on September 10, 2001.
‘I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, 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 just didn’t do it.’