Alexander's Column

Bill Clinton and Osama bin Laden

Clinton Declined to Capture or Kill OBL

Mark Alexander · Sep. 15, 2006

This week, surrogates for a legacy starved couple, Bill Clinton and his future presidential candidate spouse, Hillary, were out protesting an ABC docudrama called “The Path to 9/11.” The five-hour television series was a calumny, they cried, since it depicted eight years of Clintonian negligence and malfeasance leading up to the 9/11 attack.

In a fiery public letter to ABC that none-too-subtly threatened to pull the network’s broadcast license, a handful of Democrat senators charged that “presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law.” We have to ask, does “inaccurate misinformation” mean it’s true, or what?

The Democratic National Committee warned the Demo faithful that “‘The Path to 9/11’ is actually a bald-faced attempt to slander Democrats and revise history right before Americans vote in a major election. … The miniseries, which was put together by right-wing conservative writers, relies on the old GOP playbook of using terrorism to scare Americans. [It] mocks the truth and dishonors the memory of 9/11 victims to serve a cheap, callous political agenda. It irresponsibly misrepresents the facts and completely distorts the truth.”

Having gotten the memo, the New York Times editorial board was just as quick out the gate, writing, “When attempting to recreate real events on screen, you do not show real people doing things they never did.” The uber-Leftist Nation warned readers that David Cunningham, director of “The Path to 9/11,” may be a part of that great conspiracy that threatens us all – Christianity. “Cunningham is no ordinary Hollywood journeyman,” says The Nation. “He is in fact the son of Loren Cunningham, founder of a right-wing evangelical group…”

Disgraced former National Security Advisor Sandy “Socks” Berger complained that the film “flagrantly misrepresents my personal actions.” Unfortunately, we’ll never know exactly what Berger’s “personal actions” were, since his last official act before the 9/11 Commission was to admit to removing classified documents and handwritten notes from the National Archives on two occasions in 2003. Berger destroyed these vital documents, which pertained to the Clinton administration’s record on terrorism. He then pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for his actions and was stripped of his security clearances.

Bill Clinton himself came out swinging, but his self-defense quickly turned to self-parody. “I just want people to tell the truth, you know, and not pretend it’s something it’s not.” Truth, as we know, is not exactly the lingua franca of the Clintons, masters of the “BIG Lie.”

ABC responded by announcing a disclaimer that would call the miniseries a “dramatization” containing “fictionalized scenes.”

That notwithstanding, here are the facts.

Eight years passed between the first World Trade Center attack in Bill Clinton’s first term of office – and the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001, eight months after Clinton left office. While the Clinton’s have attempted to blame the Bush administration for not connecting the dots and preventing the 9/11 attack, intelligence analyst Ronald Kessler concludes, “The truth was that there were no dots to connect.” The reason for this inability to connect the dots – that is, the absence of actionable intelligence against Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa'ida terrorist cells – lies squarely at the feet of the Clinton administration.

The fact is, during his eight years in office, Clinton had numerous opportunities to capture or kill Osama, but refused. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Patterson, who carried the “nuclear football” codes for the Clinton administration, notes, “[W]e could have prevented the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, we could have prevented 9/11 and we could have prevented the bombings of the embassies in Africa if President Clinton had taken one of these opportunities. … We had eight chances at least to either nab bin Laden or to kill him.” Michael Scheuer, former CIA chief of the team responsible for hunting bin Laden, confirmed that prior to 9/11 SpecOps had two opportunities when Osama was literally in their sights, but Clinton pulled the plug on both operations.

Additionally, after 9/11, Clinton admitted he turned down an opportunity to take custody of bin Laden: “He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan, and we’d been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start dealing with them again. They released him. At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America, so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America.”

Perhaps Mr. Clinton forgot that bin Laden had in 1995 been named a conspirator in the first WTC attack. Later, in his testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Clinton dismissed his own statement as “inappropriate” – which is to say, “truthful.”

The fact is, the 9/11 Commission’s own conclusions on the Clinton administration’s accountability are equally telling. In 1998, the year that al-Qa'ida bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, U.S. assets had the opportunity to capture bin Laden at his Tarnak Farms compound in Afghanistan. According to the Commission’s report, “Before it was canceled, [senior CIA operations officer in Afghanistan, Gary] Schroen described it as the ‘best plan we are going to come up with to capture [bin Laden] while he is in Afghanistan and bring him to justice.’ No capture plan before 9/11 ever again attained the same level of detail and preparation.”

So Clinton not only declined to kill Osama twice, but declined to capture him twice.

The Commission Report also asserts that Clinton “effectively relied on the CIA” for counterterrorism planning, even though Clinton stopped receiving the CIA’s Presidential Daily Brief and rarely, if ever, communicated with Director George Tenet. Further, while the Clinton administration continued to treat terrorism at home as merely a matter of law enforcement, “the relationship between the FBI Director Louis Freeh and the President was nearly nonexistent.”

And one important element that was not covered in the ABC mini-series because it remains classified, is what we confirmed with our sources earlier this year: In 1998, Clinton’s refused an FBI field agent’s efforts to open a case file on Arab nationals who were, curiously, training to fly commercial aircraft, but not training for takeoffs or landings. The stated reason for the case file denial was to avoid the appearance of any presumption of an Islamic threat.

Bill Clinton’s cowardice all along the path to 9/11 is clearly a disgrace – perhaps even a criminal dereliction. Let’s just pray that the events of September 11, 2001, mark the end of the “Clinton legacy” on terrorism.