1,271. 8/20/1998

On August 20, 1998, “President [Bill] Clinton and all his principal advisers had agreed to strike Bin Ladin camps in Afghanistan near Khowst, as well as hitting al Shifa [a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, which, according to reports, was being financially backed by Bin Ladin to manufacture a precursor ingredient for nerve gas]…Later on August 20, Navy vessels in the Arabian Sea fired their cruise missiles. Though most of them hit their intended targets, neither Bin Ladin nor any other terrorist leader was killed. [National Security Advisor Sandy] Berger told us that an after-action review by Director [of Central Intelligence George] Tenet concluded that the strikes had killed 20-30 people in the camps but probably missed Bin Ladin by a few hours. Since the missiles headed for Afghanistan had had to cross Pakistan, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs [Joseph Ralston] was sent to meet with Pakistan’s army chief of staff to assure him the missiles were not coming from India. Officials in Washington speculated that one or another Pakistani official might have sent a warning to the Taliban or Bin Ladin.”

 – 9/11 Commission, The 9/11 Commission Report, Page 117

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