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Trump Boasts He Knew of Bin Laden Before 9/11 Attacks: ‘I Pointed Him Out in My Book’

President Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning to claim that he called for the capture of late al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden years before the terrorist group’s 9/11 attacks.

“Of course we should have captured Osama bin Laden long before we did. I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center. President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!” Trump tweeted, after he bashed the U.S. military in an interview on Fox News Sunday for not killing bin Laden sooner.

“We no longer pay Pakistan the $Billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another,” he added. “They were just one of many countries that take from the United States without giving anything in return. That’s ENDING!”

However, the president’s claims that he called for the capture of bin Laden are questionable at best.

In his book The America We Deserve, which Trump referenced as proof that he was onto al-Qaeda before 9/11, but the following passage — the only time bin Laden is mentioned, per Politifact — shows that he did not have a specific intuition about bin Laden, and was instead criticizing America’s erratic policies in the Middle East at the time:

“Instead of one looming crisis hanging over us, we face a bewildering series of smaller crises, flash points, stand offs, and hot spots. We’re not playing the chess game to end all chess games anymore. We’re playing tournament chess – one master against many rivals. One day we’re assured that Iraq is under control, the UN inspectors have done their work, everything’s fine, not to worry. The next day the bombing begins. One day we’re told that a shadowy figure named Osama bin Laden is public enemy number one, and U.S. jet fighters lay waste to his camp in Afghanistan. He escapes back under some rock, and a few news cycles later, it’s on to a new enemy and a new crisis.”

During the early days of his 2016 campaign, Trump repeated the same claim, saying, “Remember that in The America We Deserve, I wrote that book in 2000, I wrote about Osama bin Laden: ‘We’ve got to take him out,’” Trump said during a Dec. 2 rally for his presidential campaign.

Last night, Trump attacked retired admiral William McRaven for not getting to bin Laden sooner.

“Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it have been nice?” Trump said to Fox News. “You know, living — think of this — living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan, in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer, but living in Pakistan right next to the military academy. Everybody in Pakistan knew he was there.”

[image via screengrab]

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Caleb Ecarma is a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: caleb@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma