Bin Laden Intel: Thank Bill Clinton


During Bill Clinton’s Presidency, bin Laden was suspected, in the first World Trade Center bombing (2-26-93), a car bombing against U.S. forces in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (11-13-95), a truck bombing at the USAF Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia (6-25-96), the U.S. Embassy bombings, in Kenya and Tanzania (8-7-98), and the USS Cole attack in Yemen (10-12-00).

Under President Clinton, the CIA established a special operation in 1996 called the “Bin Laden Unit,” which started collecting intelligence on his whereabouts. After the embassy bombings, Clinton’s Atty. Gen. used the Intel to indict bin Laden, on Nov. 4, 1998, and the FBI was able to put him on their “Most Wanted” list.

George W. Bush was sworn-in on Jan. 20, 2001. If it had not been for the five years of groundwork done by Bill Clinton and his people, Bush would have had no idea bin Laden was a Sept. 11, 2001 suspect, and no clue he might be hiding in Afghanistan. It was Bill Clinton’s Intel that made possible Bush’s prompt invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, just one month after 911.

While President Obama and his team deserve 90% of the praise for the recent operation that eliminated bin Laden, if credit is to be shared with earlier presidents, then Bill Clinton must be included. Clinton started bombing suspected bin Laden sites on Aug. 20, 1998. Although Republicans accused him at the time of diverting attention away from his personal issues, it was Clinton in Aug, 1999, who first ordered the CIA to take out bin Laden.

While Clinton did not find him under his watch, neither did Bush, despite having eight years to do so. When U.S. intelligence pinpointed bin Laden’s precise location on Dec. 16, 2001, during the Afghan Battle at Tora Bora, Bush inexplicably denied a Delta Force permission to drop in over a mountain range to capture or kill him, and bin Laden was able to escape into Pakistan.

Bush later said at a March 13, 2002 Press Conference: “I just don’t spend that much time on him…I don’t know where he is…I truly am not that concerned about him.” By 2005, Bush had re-directed Delta Force away from the bin Laden objective to other unrelated missions in Iraq. The NY Times reported Bush closed the CIA unit that had been looking for bin Laden, in late 2005 (7-4-06). This was the same time bin Laden had opened his Pakistani hideaway.

The partisan desire of the right-wingers to praise Bush for a mission Obama carried out is illogical. If they want to give some credit to their former president, for whatever they think he might have done during his eight years in office, then it only logical to also give Bill Clinton credit for the work he did, during the last five years of his presidency. They can’t have it both ways.

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