Clinton Was Denied Bin Laden Arrest

U.S. Was Foiled Multiple Times in Efforts To Capture Bin Laden or Have Him Killed (

Just listening to Air America, and someone brought up the Clinton-was-offered-bin-Laden-on-a-silver-platter meme. I recently heard a variation of this from a fellow cast member: "Clinton had Osama in custody and he let him go." Franken mentioned a Washington Post article that debunks this, and I was able to find the article in under 10 seconds via Google.

he government of Sudan, employing a back channel direct from its president to the Central Intelligence Agency, offered in the early spring of 1996 to arrest Osama bin Laden and place him in Saudi custody, according to officials and former officials in all three countries.

The Clinton administration struggled to find a way to accept the offer in secret contacts that stretched from a meeting at a Rosslyn hotel on March 3, 1996, to a fax that closed the door on the effort 10 weeks later. Unable to persuade the Saudis to accept bin Laden, and lacking a case to indict him in U.S. courts at the time, the Clinton administration finally gave up on the capture.

Sudan expelled bin Laden on May 18, 1996, to Afghanistan. From there, he is thought to have planned and financed the twin embassy bombings of 1998, the near-destruction of the USS Cole a year ago and last month's devastation in New York and Washington.
Okay, get it? Clinton tried to get Osama sent to Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis wouldn't take him. At the time, the US government didn't have enough evidence to indict Osama in a US court, so Sudan expelled Osama to Afghanistan.

Clinton was not offered bin Laden on a silver platter. He never had Osama in custody. The offer was not doable. Please make a note of it.