'Monumental Liar': Ex-CIA Officer Disputes New Clinton Audio on Bin Laden
Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Usama Bin Laden unit, pushed back against Bill Clinton's contention that he could have killed Usama bin Laden, but chose not to because of the risk to civilians.
Clinton's statement came on the day before the 9/11 attacks at an address to Australian business leaders and the audio was obtained by Sky News Australia.
"I'm just saying, you know, if I were Usama 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 said on the recording.
"I nearly got him. And 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."
Scheuer explained that the situation, in Dec. 1998, did not unfold the way Clinton claimed, calling the former president a "liar."
Scheuer recalls that bin Laden had gone from his home in southern Kandahar to Kandahar city to meet with Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders. He said bin Laden stayed too late and ended up staying the night in a wing of the governor's palace.
"We had an asset that put him in that room, escorted him there and reported to us where he was. The attack would have occurred in the middle of the night and it would have killed no one but Taliban people and Usama bin Laden and his crew," said Scheuer.
He recalled that on that day in 1998, he was at the White House while then-CIA Director George Tenet met with Clinton about a potential strike against bin Laden.
"When Tenet came out, he didn't say a word. But when we got back in the car, he told us that they had decided not to shoot because they were afraid some of the shrapnel from the cruise missiles would have hit a mosque that was nearby and that the Muslim world would rise up and attack Americans," he said.
Geraldo Rivera then criticized Scheuer for his harsh words against the 42nd president, and the two got into a contentious back-and-forth. Watch the full segment above.