1,300. 8/20/1998

“The destruction of the al Shifa [pharmaceutical] plant [in Sudan, on August 20, 1998] was not a near miss but a genuine blunder. The decision to target it was based on a single soil sample collected by a CIA operative across the road from the plant (which supposedly revealed traces of EMPTA, a precursor chemical for VX nerve gas) and a memo drafted just before the embassy bombings, in which staff of the White House counterterrorism office said that bin Laden had invested in and ‘almost certainly’ had access to VX produced at a plant in Sudan. [President Bill] Clinton himself wondered whether they had hit the right target. The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research expressed strong doubts about the evidence, but [Secretary of State Madeleine] Albright ordered the publication suppressed. The 9/11 Commission concluded that there was no independent evidence to corroborate the CIA’s assessment of [the] al Shifa plant.”

 – Roy Gutman, How We Missed the Story, Page 144

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