Monday May 14, 201211:05 PM GMT
Hank Crumpton, Former CIA officer: Clinton wouldn't authorize Osama Bin Laden kill in 1999
Mon May 14, 2012 11:4PM
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Former CIA Officer, Hank Crumpton

Hank Crumpton, a former CIA officer and top counterterrorism official, said in a recent interview that President Bill Clinton's White House missed a golden opportunity to take out Osama bin Laden in 1999.


Bin Laden was in Afghanistan in 1999, Crumpton told CBS's "60 Minutes" in a segment that aired on Sunday. His convoy had been clearly identified by an early edition Predator drone, which at the time didn't have weapons capabilities.


"We saw a security detail, a convoy, and we saw bin Laden exit the vehicle, clearly," Crumpton told CBS's Lara Logan, describing aerial images captured by a drone flying somewhere outside of Kandahar. "The optics were spot in, it was beaming back to us, CIA headquarters. We immediately alerted the White House, and the Clinton administration's response was, 'Well, it will take several hours for the TLAMs, the cruise missiles launched from submarines, to reach that objective. So, you need to tell us where bin Laden will be five or six hours from now.' The frustration was enormous."


The administration also denied the CIA's request to engage their on-ground forces, Crumpton said, which could have acted more quickly. The missed opportunity led the CIA to speed the process of arming the unmanned drones with Hellfire missiles, so that they could act more swiftly if they found bin Laden again. Huffington Post




Clinton has been criticized for a supposed failure to seize opportunities to kill bin Laden on multiple occasions. A 9/11 commission report, which brought the original release of the drone footage that Crumpton is referring to, led to accusations from Clinton's opponents that he had neglected to act despite a wealth of convincing intelligence. Huffington Post


Bin Laden would go on to help facilitate the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and evade capture until last year, when he was allegedly shot several times by Navy SEALs during a raid on his compound in Pakistan. Crumpton said that a drone never got another clear look at him, despite their increasing prevalence. Raw Story


The first Predator drone to be weaponized with Hellfire missiles was tested in February 2001, according to George Washington University's International Affairs Review. The Obama administration has used drone aircraft to bomb more targets than his predecessor, President George W. Bush, and his top advisers feel that using drones is more humane than sending soldiers into a remote part of the world to needlessly risk their lives. Raw Story



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