Wednesday, August 25, 2004


CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-b(5)

Today's segment of the transcript of William Karel's documentary CIA: Secret Wars

The speakers:
Joseph Trento, journalist-historian;
Milton Bearden, CIA, former Director of the Soviet/East European Division, oversaw funding of the Afghan mujaheedin against the Soviets;
Robert Baer, CIA agent - covert operations;
Dale Watson, FBI- Executive Assistant Director for Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence (1999-2002)

CIA: Secret Wars, Part III-b(5)
"One war begets another"
[The Clinton years - continued]

Bin-Laden's time in Sudan. But for American fear of upsetting the Saudis, bin-Laden would be a very minor historical footnote.

VOICEOVER: The CIA had located bin-Laden who had set himself up in Sudan. But Bill Clinton didn’t want—right in the middle of the electoral campaign—to overturn the Presidential Order of Gerald Ford that for 20 years had forbidden all assasinations. In February 1996, he finally signed a top-secret mission order authorizing the CIA to use all means necessary to destroy the al-Qaeda network and bin-Laden.

JOSEPH TRENTO: Sincerely, if they could have assassinated bin-Laden, they would have done it. Clinton had signed the order: “Kill him!” But they didn’t find him. Clinton wanted Osama bin-Laden dead, but the CIA never found him.

VOICEOVER: In March ’96, a month later, the government of Khartoum, under pressure from the U.N., decided to expel Osama bin-Laden and his 10,000-man-strong secret army. They proposed to the Saudis to send bin-Laden back to them, but the royal family refused. The Sudanese then turned to Bill Clinton and made him the same offer.

MILTON BEARDEN: The United States and the Saudi government warned the Sudanese. They told them: “Bin-Laden is posing a problem for us.” And the Sudanese, who were anxious to improve their relations with Saudi Arabia and the United States, asked: “OK, what do you want, you want us to send him to you?” And the Saudis responded: “We don’t want him.” They didn’t want bin-Laden to come back home. They just wanted him to disappear.

ROBERT BAER: The Sudanese proposed to give bin-Laden back to Saudi Arabia for them to put him in prison. They couldn’t expel him from a Muslim country except to another Muslim country. Which is to say that he would have found himself in prison in February ’96. The Sudanese tried desparately to redeem themselves in the opinion of the United States.

MILTON BEARDEN: The Sudanese then said to the American government: “We’re going to give him to you.” But the Americans responded: “Definitely not. We can’t charge him, we can’t accuse him of any crime, we can’t take him.” That’s exactly how it happened.

DALE WATSON: It would have been necessary to have precise charges, a reason to charge him, a complaint or an arrest warrant; and I remember that in ’96 we didn’t have any proof in order to be able to bring him back to the United States to prosecute him.

ROBERT BAER: And the United States didn’t exert any pressure on Saudi Arabia to take bin-Laden. I know exactly where and when the meetings took place. They even stated: “If taking bin-Laden poses a problem for you, don’t do it.” I was completely informed of the correspondence that was exchanged at that time.

MILTON BEARDEN: And the Sudanese threw him out. He left for Afghanistan, and you all know the rest of the story.

Related posts:
CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-b(6) (The Clinton years - continued)
CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-a(1) (Beginning, the George H.W. Bush years)
CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-b(1) (The Clinton years)
CIA: Secret Wars — Part III-c (The George W. Bush years)

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