Bill Clinton hours before 9/11: I ‘could have killed’ Osama bin Laden

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WASHINGTON -- An audio recording of former President Bill Clinton saying -- hours before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- he "could have killed" Osama bin Laden has been uncovered.

"And I'm just saying that, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden -- he is a very smart guy, I've spent a lot of time thinking about him -- and I nearly got him once. I nearly got him. And I could have gotten him -- 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 didn't do it."

Clinton said those words on Sept. 10, 2001, speaking to a small group of business people in Australia.

The recording is just now being made public after it was obtained by the Sky News Australia program "Paul Murray Live."

The man in the audience that day who made the recording says Clinton was answering a question about terrorism.

A number of books -- along with the 9/11 Commission Report -- have acknowledged the Clinton administration considered a December 1998 strike on bin Laden but scrapped the plan over possible collateral damage.