Thanks, But No Thanks

How the U.S. Missed a Chance to Get Bin Laden

Other ex-officials doubt the sincerity of Sudan's offer because of its track record of supporting terrorism. "It's like an alcoholic saying he won't have another drink," says Susan Rice, a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs who was then senior director for Africa on the NSC. "At the time we had no basis to prosecute Bin Laden in a U.S. court. It would have been a huge mistake to try him and let him go free, and the Saudis didn't want him. Our desire was not to let him remain in Sudan, which was an active state sponsor of terrorism. There was no government operating in Somalia. We wanted him to go somewhere where he wouldn't disappear into the ether. We had no discussion of him going to Afghanistan."

Rice also says Sudan made the offer knowing the U.S. couldn't accept it. "They calculated that we didn't have the means to successfully prosecute Bin Laden. That's why I question the sincerity of the offer."

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