WASHINGTON, October 21, 2015– Vice President Joe Biden has subtly called into question the role former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she played in the raid that killed al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. He’s also tweaked his own role as the events unfolded.
In her 2014 book Hard Choices, Clinton says that she was an immediate supporter of the raid while Biden “remained skeptical.”
However, Biden said otherwise.
“Only two people who were definitive and were absolutely certain,” he said, referring to the men who were, respectively, the director of the CIA and the secretary of defense at the time. “Leon Panetta said, ‘Go,’ and Bob Gates — who has already publicly said this — said, ‘Don’t go.’ And others were at 59/41.”
At an event honoring former Vice President Walter Mondale on Tuesday, Biden continued to retell his account.
“We walked out of the room and walked upstairs,” Biden said. “I told him my opinion: I thought he should go, but to follow his own instincts.”
The new account of Biden’s advice differs drastically from what he said at a Democratic retreat in January 2012.
“Mr. President, my suggestion is, ‘Don’t go,'” Biden said, according to multiple news reports from that time.
Biden says the reason for the two separate accounts is because he told President Obama one thing in the situation room meeting, and another when in private.
“Imagine if I had said, in front of everyone, don’t go or go and his decision was a different decision,” said Biden. “It undercuts that relationship. So I never, on a difficult issue, never say what I think finally until I go up to the Oval with him alone.”
In addition, Biden also said only he and President Obama knew about crucial intelligence, which Clinton claims she knew about as well.
“The President and I, and only two others in the administration, knew about Abbottabad as early as August” 2010, Biden said Tuesday. “We did not go for almost a year to get him. And major players in the Cabinet did not know about it till January or February (2011).”
Meanwhile, Clinton says she learned about the intelligence in March 2011.
Biden has announced that he will not run for President.
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