A presidential executive order issued during the
Clinton administration hamstrung the FBI so badly that bureau
lawyers decided it would be illegal to infiltrate Osama bin Laden's
terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, a senior FBI official
during the Clinton administration said Saturday.
Former Deputy Assistant FBI Director Daniel Coulson fingered the
Clinton White House in the decision to pass up what could have been
an al Qaeda intelligence bonanza, during an interview on Fox News
Channel's "Fox & Friends" morning show.
ALLISON CAMMARATA: This morning we've also been talking about
this FBI mole who had an opportunity to go to an al Qaeda commando
training camp but was not allowed to, because at that time the FBI
did not want to deal in criminal activity and give the sort of
go-ahead for somebody to go be trained as a terrorist.
Is that changing now? Will we get our hands dirtier with these
sorts of criminal activity because we have to infiltrate those
COULSON: Well, absolutely we will. I think you have to understand
that part of that concern came from an executive order of the
president of the United States, Bill Clinton. They didn't want
people working for the government who, as you said, had dirty hands
or were involved in criminal activity. (End of Excerpt)
U.S. News & World Report reveals the FBI's decision not to
infiltrate the al Qaeda terror camps in its latest issue, saying the
episode took place just "months" before the 9-11 attacks.
But the magazine makes no mention of the role played by the
Clinton restrictions, which also stymied CIA efforts to gather human
intelligence. (See: Report:
FBI Nixed Chance to Infiltrate al Qaeda Terror Camp)
Coulson predicted that the Bush administration would not allow
the FBI to be hobbled in the same way.
"You can see a big change," he told Fox News Channel. "I think
Attorney General Ashcroft has a different view of the world. ... So
things like this need to be done. The rest of the world does it and
we should be doing it too."
The former deputy FBI director first gained national attention
during the late 1990s when he criticized his agency's
over-zealousness during the Waco and Ruby Ridge debacles.
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