'Former President Bill Clinton, mere hours before the 9/11 terror
attack, openly acknowledged that he turned down a chance to kill Usama
bin Laden, according to a newly released recording.
The former president can be heard admitting this in a speech to
Australian business leaders on Sept. 10, 2001.
Until now, Clinton's eerie words had not been made public. But a
businessman who had access to the nearly 13-year-old recording handed
it over to Sky News Australia, which broadcast it in a report Monday.
"I'm just saying, you know, if I were Usama 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 said on the recording.
Tune in to Fox News' 'The Five' Thursday at 5 p.m. ET to hear the Clinton audio.
"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
"And so I didn't do it," he added.
Clinton had recently left office at the time of the speech.
This is not the first time that the notion was raised that the Clinton
administration had the opportunity to detain or even kill bin Laden,
but chose not to. Leading up to the final report of the National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, otherwise
known as the 9/11 Report, there were conflicting testimonies and
information about whether the administration had taken Al Qaeda
threats seriously and had turned down a chance to have bin Laden
extradited to the U.S. on terrorism charges.
In the end, the 9/11 panel found that there were several missed
opportunities to go after bin Laden and Al Qaeda, including a point in
which the Central Intelligence Agency had tracked bin Laden to a
hunting camp in Afghanistan in 1999. The Clinton administration
declined to launch an attack for fear of hitting officials from the
United Arab Emirates, who were at the camp on a hunting trip.'