In the 2001 Australia recording, Clinton is referring to a proposed strike in December 1998.
Audio released just this week recorded hours before the 9/11 attacks reveals former President Bill Clinton saying he had missed his chance to kill Osama bin Laden, the one responsible for 9/11.
Clinton’s address was delivered in Melbourne, Australia at a business meeting.
He said of Osama bin Laden, “He’s a very smart guy. I spent a lot of time thinking about him. And I nearly got him once,” which was recorded by former Liberal Party head Michael Kroger and aired by Sky News.
Clinton continued, “I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have had 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 didn’t do it.”
In the 2001 Australia recording, Clinton is referring to a proposed strike in December 1998. Intelligence had indicated that bin Laden was staying at the governor’s residence in Kandahar.
The 9/11 Commission Report, released in 2004, also mentions this proposed attack, but includes, “The principals’ wariness about ordering a strike appears to have been vindicated: Bin Laden left his room unexpectedly, and if a strike had been ordered he would not have been hit.” But the 300 innocents Clinton mentioned would have been.
The 9/11 attacks refer to the September, 2011 terrorist action where suicide attackers drove hijacked planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and crashed one plane in west Pennsylvania that was headed for Washington, D.C. The deaths totaled almost 3,000.
Bin Laden was eventually killed in a 2011 raid by U.S. Special Forces in Pakistan.