Warden Notices and He Knew.
This is a story I do tell on a frequent basis for two reasons. It shows that a report that says OBL is going to bomb something somewhere is not good enough. It also shows that people in the government were aware of him and his perfidy well before he became a household name.
To start off here is today's inspiration:
President Clinton is supposed to have said: "I desperately wish that I had been president when the FBI and CIA finally confirmed, officially, that bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole," HT The Belmont Club: The Moderate Voice - Bill Clinton Says He Wish He Had Confirmation To Have Attacked Bin Laden
Okay so we are nice and setup for my story.
In the summer of 1998 I was packing up to leave the UAE for good (I would return but my residency there was coming to an end). One day in June I came into the office to do something and found the ole warden notice from our embassy in Abu Dhabi. It warned us that Osama Bin Laden (and I do recall the notice named Osama bin Laden explicitly) was up to something. Then it went on to enumerate (yet again) the standard list of security precautions.
Okay, I get packed up and finally return to the USofA which was in early July. In early August I was up north watching some tv with my brother. The regularly scheduled programming we were watching broke in with a news alert. They announced the bombings in East Africa. The first words out of my mouth were: Osama Bin Laden! Momentarily later they announced the chief suspect Osama Bin Laden!
So, our intelligence agencies had an idea of what OBL was about. Our State Department had an idea of what OBL was about. Now of course, we do not know exactly how much they knew. Anyone can stand up and say I will attack the USA and what does it mean? Is it misinformation? Is he going to hit shipping, an embassy? Where? When? How? With whom? etc etc etc. So, I am not upset they were not able to prevent that attack (I am upset with those who attacked).
But what more did President Clinton want? I do not take him at his word for the above statement after all he supposedly knew enough to shoot some cruise missiles at empty tents in Afghanistan and a factory in The Sudan. Why did he suppose it was any other organization that put together the Cole bombing?