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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 31, October 1998

US Attorney General Said to Doubt August Bombings

In its 12 October edition, The New Yorker magazine reported that US Attorney General Janet Reno had expressed reservations to the White House about the advisability of proceeding with the 20 August cruise missile attacks against alleged terrorist- and weapons-related targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. According to the report's author, Seymour Hersh, the Attorney General was not satisfied that the case for bombing, as presented to her, met the 'Tripoli standard,' a level of clear-cut linkage of targets to terrorist activity said to have justified the American bombing of the Libyan capital in 1986.

The New Yorker report also claimed that the White House did not consult the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Louis Freeh, before the attack, despite the FBI's involvement in investigating the bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam which prompted the American attacks; and that it instructed General Henry H. Shelton, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Hersh's words, "not to brief the three Generals and one Admiral who run the nation's armed forces, nor to consult with the Defense Intelligence Agency."

Report: Report - Reno questioned US raids, Associated Press, 5 October.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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