03:11 GMT04 December 2020
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    Former Attorney General Janet Reno was a key figure in blocking possible Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plans to kill Osama Bin Laden in 1998, according to a declassified letter by former CIA Director George Tenet.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Janet Reno, 76, served as US attorney-general under then President Bill Clinton from 1993 until 2001, and was the second longest-serving Attorney General in US history.

    “The chief of CTC [CIA Counterterrorism Center]and I met with the Attorney-General of the United States [Janet Reno] to discuss operations against bin Laden,” Tenet wrote in a June 9, 2005 letter to the CIA Inspector General.

    Tenet stated it was absolutely clear to him “that the Attorney-General would only contemplate lethal action against Bin Laden and his colleagues in the context of capture and rendition.”

    Tenet’s letter was part of a cache of previously classified documents including a nearly 500-page CIA Inspector General’s report that documented many “systemic problems” in the US intelligence services before the al-Qaeda terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

    Tenet also wrote in the letter that the terms under which the CIA could hunt bin Laden were clarified to him in instructions from Clinton and his National Security Council (NSC).

    “The US Government clearly prefers that Bin Laden and his agents be captured. If a successful operation is not feasible, [US forces] may undertake offensive operations to kill bin Laden with his principal lieutenants.”

    Tenet commented he knew what was permissible, “lethal action against bin Laden [only] in the context of capture and rendition operations.”

    Tenet served as Director of the CIA from July 1997 to July 2004 and was the second-longest-serving Director in the Agency’s history next to Allen Dulles. He was appointed by then President Clinton and retained the position under his successor George W. Bush.


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