Carson: Declaring Energy Independence Would Have Turned Over bin Laden in Two Weeks

PHOTO: In this April 1998 file photo, al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is seen in Afghanistan.PlayAP Photo
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GOP presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson remains steadfast in his assertion that if the United States had declared its intention to achieve energy independence after the September 11th terror attacks, moderate Arab governments would have turned over Osama bin Laden within two weeks.

"I think they would have been extremely concerned about what the ramifications of that would have been," Carson said on ABC’s "This Week." "And I believe they would have been considerably more cooperative."

Carson is the only major Republican candidate who opposed President Bush's decision to invade Afghanistan after 9/11. During the second GOP primary debate in September, the retired neurosurgeon said Arab nations "would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks" if the U.S. declared that within five to 10 years it would become petroleum independent.

Carson said the financial burden of American energy independence would have motivated Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, to turn over bin Laden. He also suggested that despite the fact that Saudi Arabia expelled bin Laden, some Saudis remained loyal to the al Qaeda leader.

"Well, I think they would have been extremely concerned if we had declared -- and we were serious about it -- that we were going to become petroleum independent, because it would have had a major impact on their finances," Carson said. "And I think that probably would have trumped any loyalty that they had to people like Osama bin Laden."

Carson also suggested that he believes bin Laden's whereabouts in the tribal regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan were known to U.S. officials under the Clinton administration prior to 9/11.

"You know, there were indications, for instance, during the Clinton administration that they knew exactly where he was but didn’t necessarily pull the trigger," Carson said. "My point is, we have other ways that we could have done things."