1,492. 2/15/1999

“For some of the ground level officers involved in the bin Laden chase the decision to hold fire [in a potential cruise missile strike against bin Laden while he participated in a February 1999 hunting trip with U.A.E. princes] seemed almost unforgivable.” In an interview on November 7, 2002, former CIA Islamabad station chief Gary Schroen said: ” ‘We knew he was there. We had assets in place. There was little risk to life and limb to anybody–not our Afghan colleagues, nobody on the American side. And it would have been, we thought, definitive.’ We could take him out. Yeah, some of these other people would be killed, but we would really be able to take him out.’ Some of them blamed [Counterterrorism Coordinator Richard] Clarke, speculating that he was so close to the U.A.E. royal family because of defense deals he had previously negotiated that he would never take the risk of offending them.” [The 15th of the month used for date sorting purposes only.]

 – Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, Page 450

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