Sky News Australia has released an audio recording from September 10, 2001 in which former President Bill Clinton says he passed on the chance to kill Osama bin Laden.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
00:02 September 10 2001. Former President Bill Clinton speaking in Australia
00:08 says he passed on a chance to kill Osama bin Laden
00:12 in the late ninety's. The audio released by sky news Australia
00:16 is casting fresh light on the fight against terrorism in the
00:20 Clinton Era and beyond. It's been the problem is very Smart
00:25 guy thought we think. They got a war. Under the --
00:32 And I have gotten I I couldn't kill them. The people
00:36 who won't pull the whole being an instant. Over and over.
00:46 And so I didn't do. Just hours after Clinton's remarks the
00:50 attacks on the World Trade Center and pentagon unfolded. Osama bin
00:55 Laden became a household name. And the war on terror instantly
00:58 became global but at the time I don't think Osama bin
01:02 Laden was a household name in the United States. Clearly. The
01:08 intelligence community was aware. And al-Qaeda. And of bin Laden. And
01:14 I think in the public mind there are still some. Misunderstanding.
01:19 That it was actually a network of terrorist organizations they were
01:22 targeting United States after 9/11 suddenly it all kind of came
01:26 into place for it for American civilians to understand that there
01:31 was actually is from terror network. That was targeting American interest
01:35 or on the globe. And that bin Laden was at the
01:38 head of it. The key decision making moment for Clinton came
01:40 in 1998. When al-Qaeda bombed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
01:46 Killing 234. People. In response Clinton ordered US air strikes against
01:52 targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. But he didn't get bin Laden.
01:56 With Americans consumed by domestic issues like the Lewinsky scandal and
02:00 Clinton's impeachment later in 1988. The focus quickly shifted. In remarks
02:06 after 9/11 president George W. Bush said he didn't spend that
02:10 much time on bin Laden. Terror is bigger than one person
02:14 bush said isn't. -- moment because it's sort of said. You
02:17 know it's not about one guy. It's about the broader network.
02:22 And to some degree after 9/11. Bin Laden sort of disappeared
02:26 up into the hills and it was not clear. How engaged
02:30 he was still an operationally rooting. Al-Qaeda. The Bush Administration did
02:35 come very close to getting bin Laden during an operation in
02:38 Tora Bora Afghanistan in December of 2001. But bin Laden slipped
02:43 away it would be a decade before bin Laden was tracked
02:47 down and killed in a strike on his Pakistan compound. In
02:51 2011. Over world extended period of time. Our foreign policy decisions.
02:56 Have such -- that we can't really predict what they'll look
02:59 like in ten years and it makes you think about. What
03:02 will Syria look like in ten years after the troubles we've
03:05 had managing a civil war there. What will rock look like
03:09 in ten years as you see a civil war essentially breaking
03:13 out there in the country Britain the pieces. It's impossible for
03:16 us to know now. The consequences. Of little decisions we're making
03:20 today and what they're -- look like in ten years and
03:22 whether we're gonna regret some of them.