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9/11 report: Berger nixed 4 runs at Osama

July 24, 2004 at 7:43 AM

WASHINGTON, July 24 (UPI) -- President Clinton's national security adviser reportedly rejected four plans to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, partly to avoid blame if the raids failed.

The Sept. 11 Commission's report released this week also says Richard Clarke, a Clinton counterterrorism expert, urged attacks on bin Laden because he feared the al-Qaida leader's "ambitions to acquire weapons of mass destruction," the Washington Times said Saturday.

The 567-page commission report notes Clinton's national security advisor, Samuel Berger, was told in June 1999 that U.S. intelligence agents were confident about bin Laden's presence in a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.

Berger's "hand-written notes on the meeting paper," states: "If (bin Laden) responds" to the attack, "we're blamed."

Frank Gaffney, a former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy under President Reagan, said the 9/11 report makes it clear the Clinton administration "didn't take terrorism terribly seriously."

Their approach to terrorism "was like their approach to national security in general," Gaffney told the Washington Times. "They certainly didn't pursue it in any consistent and robust way."

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