Bill Clinton has been accused of being so distracted by the Monica Lewinsky scandal that he lost track of Osama bin Laden. The former President, who served between 1993 to 2001, suffered an impeachment trial over the affair when the then-49-year-old had a sexual relationship with the 22-year-old intern. Former campaign pollster Doug Schoen revealed the “unraveling” of Clinton’s time in office in his new memoir, POWER: THE 50 TRUTHS, The Definitive Insider’s Guide.
He claimed that the then-President and his team were so distracted they lost track of the al Qaeda leader.
Schoen wrote: “I watched this unraveling happen close up, in painful slow motion, from inside the White House.
“I watched the White House surreptitiously mount a whispering campaign to discredit Lewinsky.”
But he also speculated the affair had “a serious impact on national security”.
“On August 20, 1998, Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes against al Qaeda in Sudan and Afghanistan in retaliation for the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania”, Schoen added.
“The strikes, named Operation Infinite Reach, missed Osama bin Laden.
“Beset by the Lewinsky affair, the Clinton Administration lost focus and leverage to pursue him aggressively and bin Laden struck again on 9/11.”
The former President returned to the White House on Thursday to mark the 30th anniversary of his Family and Medical Leave Act.
Flanked by President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris, Clinton celebrated the bill, the first piece of legislation he signed in 1993, which guaranteed many American workers up to 12 unpaid weeks off to recover from major illness or childbirth or to take care of sick family members.
“After all these years, I still have more people mention the Family Leave Act to me than any other specific thing I did”, he said.
“And no one ever talks about what gets all the press coverage — you know, the political process, how long did it take, who got derailed, what went up, what went down.
“They tell you their story. That’s when you know, for good or ill, that we have united the country.”
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