CIA Had Chance to Kill bin Laden in '99: Ex-Spy

'We do not have a license to kill,' agent told informant
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2012 3:35 PM CDT
This undated file photo shows Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – An Afghan guerrilla leader offered to hand Osama bin Laden to the CIA on a silver platter in 1999, asking for nothing more than the $5 million bounty the Clinton administration had already placed on the terrorist leader's head, but the CIA demurred, a former Polish spy alleges in a new book. "They gave us the exact location of the houses where bin Laden would be," what routes he'd be taking, what transportation he'd be using, and more, Alexander Makowski tells McClatchy Newspapers.

But when Makowski brought the offer to a CIA agent, the agent passed. "We do not have a license to kill," Makowski quotes him as saying. "We have to capture bin Laden safe and sound so that he can stand trial. … Any other solution is out of the question." The intelligence proved accurate, and Makowski has "no doubt" the guerrillas could have made good. He also accuses the CIA of disregarding months of intelligence warning of the USS Cole attack, which the agency deemed "impossible." (Read more Poland stories.)

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