One Chance vs. Three Chances: Obama, Clinton & Bin Laden
By now you have seen the Obama Campaign’s “One Chance” Video narrated by Bill Clinton praising Obama’s decision to give the NAVY SEALS the go-ahead to attack Usama Bin Laden (“UBL”). My opinion of the video is irrelevant for this article (grrr!!). Nevertheless, I sensed some irony in having Clinton narrate the video. Did Clinton himself not have an opportunity to “get” Bin Laden?? Thus, I give you the following digest of chronological “facts” from “The 9/11 Commission Report” (567 pages!) authored by “The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” and issued on July 22, 2004.
President Clinton takes office in 1993.
In May 1996 UBL takes up residence in Afghanistan. In 1997 the CIA’s UBL unit learns Al Qaeda has a military committee planning operations against US interests worldwide. The chief of the CIA’s UBL station is “Mike”.
“Tarnak Operation”- 1st Chance?
By Fall 1997, the CIA has a capture plan to ambush UBL with the assistance of Afghan Pashtun tribes when UBL is at his primary residence at Tarnak Farms. CIA officers map the entire site. They identify one building where UBL is likely to sleep. The CIA does two complete “Tarnak” rehearsals in the United States in the fall of 1997.
In February 1998 UBL issues a “fatwa” (religious edict) through an Arabic London newspaper. UBL directs the murder of any American, anywhere on earth, as the “individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do.” In an interview three months later, UBL says it is important for Muslims to kill Americans and other infidels. Moreover, he warned that “if the present injustice continues…, it will inevitably move the battle to American soil.”
The CIA does a third “Tarnak” rehearsal in March 1998. “Mike” believes the plan is perfect. No one in the Pentagon advises the CIA or White House not to proceed. By May 24 1998 the CIA completes a final rehearsal of the “Tarnak” operation. The CIA sets June 23 as the date for the “Tarnak” raid.
On May 29 “Mike” learns of the Administration’s decision not to proceed with the “Tarnak” operation. Cabinet level officials deem the risks too high. The 9/11 Commission was unable to determine who specifically decided not to cancel the “Tarnak” operation.
“Knowst Operation”- 2nd Chance?
On August 7, 1998 UBL launches near simultaneous explosions at the US Embassies in Nairobi, killing 213 and injuring 5,000, and Der es Salaam, killing 11 people.
The next day. the CIA reports that UBL is expected to gather with other terrorists at a camp near Knowst, Afghanistan. The Administration consensus is to strike and kill UBL and his aides.
On August 12 and 14, 1998 the Pentagon briefs President Clinton on the “Knowst Operation”.
On August 20, 1998 Clinton advisers agree to strike the UBL Knowst camp in Afghanistan with Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. Since the missiles have to cross Pakistan, the U.S. notifies Pakistan’s Army Chief of Staff so Pakistan does not think it is under attack from India. Navy vessels in the Arabian Sea fire the cruise missiles and hit their targets but UBL and no other terrorist leader is killed. Officials speculate that one or more Pakistani officials warned the Taliban or UBL.
“Kandahar Operation”- 3rd Chance?
December 4, 1998 President Clinton gets Presidential Daily Brief entitled “bin Laden Preparing to Hijack US Aircraft and Other Attacks”.
On December 18, 1998 the CIA reports UBL is traveling to Kandahar and can be targeted with cruise missiles vessels in the Arabian Sea within hours of receiving target data.
On December 20, 1998 Intel says UBL will be spending the night at the governor’s residence in Kandahar. The Principals Committe decide against recommending President Clinton order a strike.
Mike wrote “I’m sure we will regret not acting last night.”
So, it is my humble opinion that Clinton himself, or his “administration”, had three opportunities to “get” Bin Laden and he blew it. Am I wrong? Did I miss something in the voluminous “9/11 Commission Report”?? Talk to me folks.