1,288. 8/20/1998

On August 20, 1998, one of the targets of Operation Infinite Reach, President Bill Clinton’s retaliatory strike for the August 7, 1998, African embassy bombings, was a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan. It was supposedly tied to bin Laden and producing chemical weapons. “The plant was targeted based on a soil sample gathered by a CIA source several months earlier. That sample allegedly showed traces of EMPTA, a precursor for the making of VX nerve gas. EMPTA has no known commercial uses. But the test results were never verified by an independent laboratory and it turned out that the CIA had mistaken Roundup, a common legal herbicide, for EMPTA. What’s more, the CIA informant who gathered the sample was a Tunisian who had links to the rebel movement and had been caught lying to the CIA in the past. Nor does it appear that the Clinton Administration ever checked the United Nations records on the plant. These records…include extensive blueprints of the plant and the results of numerous UN technical inspections of the facilities. Finally, the records reveal the plant was not owned by the government of Sudan or bin Laden, but by a Saudi businessman with a clean record. It was one of the biggest intelligence failures of the Clinton years.”

 – Richard Miniter, Losing Bin Laden, Page 185

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