Brennan opposed 1990s attempt to capture bin Laden

February 7, 2013

(Jewel Samad/AFP)

A bit of news early in John Brennan's testimony: Former CIA official Michael Scheuer has charged that Brennan, as chief of the CIA station in Saudi Arabia during the late 1990s, convinced the Clinton administration not to attempt an operation to capture Osama bin Laden. Asked by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) whether that story is true, Brennan said it was.

"Based on what I had known at the time," he said, "I didn't think it was a worthwhile operation and had low chances of success."He was not in the chain of command and had no control over decisions made in Washington — Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger ordered the operation canceled. Brennan said he had "no second thoughts whatsoever ... chances of success were minimal" and it was likely that "other individuals were going to be killed."

Karen DeYoung is associate editor and senior national security correspondent for the Washington Post.
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