Former President Bill Clinton today offered a personal reflection on the death of Osama bin Laden and said that throughout the planning for the Navy SEAL raid he was kept in the dark.
During an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Clinton was asked whether his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, shared details with him about the mission and its outcome.
“I’m trying to remember exactly when I was notified, but I’m pretty sure that I was notified by the White House, not the State Department, which was exactly the right thing,” he said. “She never said a word to me about this – exactly the right thing.
“When Hillary became secretary of state – in general, if a former president asks for it, on a daily basis you can get a briefing from the CIA called the president’s daily briefing. You can get an attenuated version of that,” Clinton said. “And when she got named to that position, I said, ‘Look, I don’t want any more briefings unless the president or the National Security Council – the White House people – want me to have it.’ Because I give too many talks, do too much work – I never want to inadvertently say something that complicates their job.
“So I didn’t know about it until they told me,” Clinton said. “She never said a word.”
The 42nd U.S. president described his reaction to the news of bin Laden’s killing in personal terms.
“It was a long saga for me – deeply, personally, emotional, because I’m a New Yorker,” Clinton told DeGeneres.
“I knew people that died in 9/11. Hillary was a senator there. Our daughter was in lower Manhattan. Our daughter was one of the tens of thousands of people in clear visibility of the World Trade Center and [was] told to just walk north and keep going. And we couldn’t find her and didn’t know what was going on. It was an emotional moment.”