Oh well. For a few months now -- that is to say, long before 9/11 -- I've been working on a story about Osama bin Laden. Particularly how the government of Sudan had opened a back channel to the United States in 1996 offering to take bin Laden -- then resident in Sudan -- into custody and turn him over either to the Saudis or to the United States.
In essence, we passed on the offer. It wasn't quite that simple. The Saudis didn't want him back. And at the time the United States had no criminal indictment against him. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, we passed on the offer. We told the Sudanese we didn't want him going to Somalia and regretfully acquiesced in his departure for Afghanistan on May 18th 1996.
I've been interviewing various players in this little drama for some time now -- something I've alluded to elliptically in a few posts over the last couple months. And though I was able to nail down the Saudi part of the equation, sufficient confirmation of the US part of puzzle eluded me.
So why am I telling you all this? Shouldn't I be more hush-hush about it?
Well, when the Washington Post broke the story in Wednesday's edition of the paper that sort of made secrecy a tad less important, didn't it?