Just hours before the planes crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, former president Bill Clinton was in Australia telling businessmen that he “could have killed” Osama Bin Laden during his presidency, but chose not to, MSNBC reports.
“I nearly got him,” he says on newly-released recordings of the September 10 meeting. “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.” (RELATED: Bill Clinton Sent Handwritten Note To al-Qaida Mosque)
Michael Kroger, one of the businessmen in the meeting who released the recording on Wednesday, said the audio had simply been forgotten about until now.
According to the 2003 book Dereliction of Duty, President Clinton missed opportunities to kill Bin Laden several times during his presidency–usually, according to Lt. Col. Robert Patterson, because of difficulties reaching him during limited strike windows and his propensity for indecision and prolonged discussion.