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Wednesday, August 17, 2005


STATE DEPT. WARNED ABOUT BIN LADEN IN 1996, CLINTON'S FIRST TERM 

The NYTimes says Clinton was warned about Osama bin Laden in 1996. One question has to be asked; How did the Clinton administration allow Al Qaeda grow to become our biggest menace and most dangerous enemy? We told you so!


The biggest stain on Bill Clinton's legacy as president will be how his timid leadership lulled Americans into a false sense of security at time between the collapse of Soviet dominated communism and the devastating attacks of 9/11. By convincing voters that foreign policy did not merit as much attention as the economy, Clinton left the nation vulnerable and unaware that it had a sinister and a much more determined enemy; Al Qaeda.

Bill Clinton recognizes that he did not do enough to protect America from Al Qaeda and Islamic jihadist terrorism. He has tried repeatedly to rehabiliate and bolster his legacy since 9/11 by weakly trying to point out how he combated terrorism. Just this week, this is what Clinton said to a reporter from New York magazine,

"I always thought," he says, "that bin Laden was a bigger threat than the Bush administration did."
[...]
"I also wish," he continues, "I desperately wish, that I had been president when the FBI and CIA finally confirmed, officially, that bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. Then we could have launched an attack on Afghanistan early. I don’t know if it would have prevented 9/11, but it certainly would have complicated it."


The fact is that the Clinton administration did nothing when confronted by strong evidence that bin Laden was behind the attacks of the USS Cole. The Galvin Opinion highlighted how Clinton failed to act in its investigative piece, "Failing the USS Cole: An Investigation", last year.

Today's New York Times reports that the Clinton administration was warned about Osama bin Laden back in 1996. The State Department said that bin Laden moving to Afghanistan would be dangerous for America in "the long run." Just 5 years later, under President Clinton's watch, Al Qaeda grew into such a powerful and pervasive organization that it was able to bomb American interests at the Khobar towers, the USS Cole and delivered hell to America on 9/11.

"Several former senior officials in the Clinton administration did not return phone calls this week seeking comment on the newly declassified documents."


What is curious is how Michael Scheuer a CIA analyst said in an interview with the NYTimes that it would be easier to get bin Laden in Taliban controlled Afghanistan instead of Sudan, the country that expelled bin Laden.

The State Department assessment, written July 18, 1996, after Mr. bin Laden had been expelled from Sudan and was thought to be relocating to Afghanistan, said Afghanistan would make an "ideal haven" for Mr. bin Laden to run his financial networks and attract support from radicalized Muslims.
[...]
"The thinking was that he was in Afghanistan, and he was dangerous, but because he was there, we had a better chance to kill him," Mr. Scheuer said. "But at the end of the day, we settled for the worst possibility - he was there and we didn't do anything."


Questions must be asked of Clinton adminsitration officials about how they handled the issue of Osama bin Laden. It was while Clinton was president that Osama bin Laden became the most dangerous terrorist in the world. How did bin Laden achieve such a dubious, but lofty, status as America's biggest threat? More importantly, why was he allowed to gather strength and logistical support in such an alarmingly quick fashion?

The Galvin Opinion called for "The bin Laden Commission" last year. While a "9/11 Commission" was important in figuring out the intelligence failures that could have prevented an attack, the questions should not have ended there.

It should not be a fait accompli that Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda grew to become our most dangerous enemy, in such a short time span, during the 1990's. During the 9/11 Commission hearings Al Qaeda was treated as a organization that was a natural, organic threat. No one ever asked if it was possible that the American government failed to prevent and place checks on this evil administration.

Questions must be asked and answered. Clinton administration officials must be held accountable. President Clinton told us in 1992, "the Cold War is over." His message was that we no longer had to worry about threats from abroad. However, Clinton's presidency and legacy will be marked by the fact that while he wanted us to believe that the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that we were safe, he ignored a gathering and in many ways, an even graver threat, that was growing unimpeded in Afghanistan.

See:

The Galvin Opinion: A Call for "The bin Laden Commission", April 2004

The Galvin Opinion: Failing the USS Cole, April 2004

Other blogs have jumped on this New York Times story as well as other issues surrounding "the wall" between law enforcement and intelligence services: Captains Quarters on Clinton and on Able Danger, Hard Starboard, Tiger Hawk, Commonsensewonder, LegalXXX,

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