Former President Bill Clinton gave a speech in Australia 10 hours before the deadliest terror attacks on U.S. soil in which he revealed he once "could have killed" Osama bin Laden, but decided not to.
Sky News host Paul Murray aired a previously unreleased audio recording
former Australia Liberal Party President Michael Kroger said was recorded with Clinton's knowledge the day before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
"I’m just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden — he’s a very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him, and I nearly got him once," Clinton is heard saying on the audio recording of his speech to a group of 30 Australian business people on Sept. 10, 2001.
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"I nearly got him. And I could have gotten, I could have killed him, but I would have 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,” Clinton says.
Ten hours later, terrorists hijacked three planes, crashing into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. One plane went down in a Pennsylvania field.
"Bill Clinton was answering a question from a member of the audience about terrorism, international terrorism, and he made some extraordinary remarks which have hitherto remained in my vault," Kroger said.
"And it was only when we talked about Clinton, bin Laden last week and many, many people contacted me and said they were quite interested to hear or [had] forgotten that Clinton was in Australia" just a few hours before the planes hit the World Trade Center.
According to a report from the 9/11 Commission
, released in 2004, national security officials debated a missile strike on bin Laden in Kandahar in late 1998, predicting that 200 or 300 civilians could get killed and that a local mosque could get damaged, the New York Post reports
"We may well regret the decision not to go ahead," one official wrote, according to the report, the Post notes.
The commission wrote that the deputy director of operations for Clinton's military Joint Staff said later intelligence found bin Laden "appeared to have left his quarters before the strike would have occurred" in Kandahar.
Missing bin Laden "would have caused us a hell of a problem, but it was a shot we should have taken, and we would have had to pay the price," the official told the commission, the Post reports.
The terrorist leader was killed by a Navy SEALs team while hiding in Pakistan
in May 2011.
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