Bill Clinton Speaking About Osama bin Laden in 2001: “I Could Have Gotten Him, I Could Have Killed Him”

Australian news channel Sky News released an audio clip late Wednesday of former president Bill Clinton speaking at a business meeting in Melbourne on September 10th, 2001. In the Sky News clip shown, there is a small portion of audio in which Clinton claimed that he had the chance to kill Osama bin Laden.

Clinton then revealed that he ultimately decided not to go after bin Laden at that time because of the surrounding circumstances; Clinton said he would have had to destroy a small town full of innocent civilians.

“He’s [bin Laden] a very smart guy. I spent a lot of time thinking about him. And I nearly got him once,” Clinton said. “And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I just didn’t do it.”

That short audio clip is currently the only released segment of the meeting where Clinton was speaking. It was made public by Michael Kroger, the former head of Australia’s Liberal Party who has been reported to be the individual who recorded it.