Inveterate White House dog Bill Clinton was so busy wagging his own tail — that he lost track of the biggest threat the US has ever seen, a new book claims.
Veteran campaign pollster Doug Schoen writes in his new memoir that then-President Clinton and his team-were so distracted by the Monica Lewinsky scandal they lost track of al Qaeda terror mastermind Osama bin Laden — allowing him to later orchestrate the 9/11 terrorist attacks that slaughtered nearly 3,000 Americans.
Schoen, who was a White House adviser and senior campaign aide to Clinton during his 1996 re-election bid, lays out the stunning claim of letting bin Laden slip away in his forthcoming “POWER: THE 50 TRUTHS, The Definitive Insider’s Guide,” published by Regan Arts, through Simon & Schuster.
During his 50 years in politics, Schoen has represented American leaders on both sides of the political aisle, from Clinton to a pre-presidential Donald Trump, as well as world leaders including three Israeli prime ministers and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and New York City Mayors Mike Bloomberg and Ed Koch.
He calls Clinton the “Elvis Presley of American Politics” and “the most accomplished political operative I have ever met,” a master of policy and a natural schmoozer on the stump.
But Schoen was baffled and disturbed by Clinton’s lack of discipline that led him to have sex with White House intern Lewinsky, derailing his second term, triggering House impeachment and forever tarnishing his reputation — particularly diminishing his stature during the #MeToo era.
“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,” said Schoen.
“There was also, I believe, a serious impact on national security. On Aug. 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. The strikes, named Operation Infinite Reach, missed Osama bin Laden,” Schoen writes.
“Beset by the Lewinsky affair, the Clinton Administration lost focus and leverage to pursue him aggressively and bin Laden struck again on 9/11,” he writes.
He also writes that the Lewinsky scandal and Clinton’s other sexual misdeeds may have cost Hillary Rodham Clinton the presidency to Donald Trump in 2016.
Trump and his campaign were able to neutralize attacks on his own alleged sexual misbehavior, including his recorded “grab ’em by the p–sy” comments,” by pointing to Bill Clinton’s philandering as he faced off against his wife, Democratic nominee Hillary.
“By the time of her presidential bid, after several sexual scandals, he hung like a millstone around her neck. When she lost, I’m told by people close to them, Hillary and Bill
were for a time not even on speaking terms. She seemed to blame him for
her narrow loss,” Schoen said.
“What Bill considered innocent dalliances ended up hurting not just himself
but also Hillary. Harming your wife also counts as self-harm.”
He said Clinton “never understood the fundamental problem” and always “insisted that passive receipt of oral pleasure was not sex — a concept that someone who is not a former law professor like him might struggle to comprehend.”
“To this day,” Schoen writes, “he appears befuddled by the Monica fuss. When she co-produced a TV miniseries about the saga in 2021, the fact that he was unable to offer her the apology she is owed left me disappointed and saddened.”
He said Bill Clinton has lost his once “broad popularity” during the #MeToo movement that has zero tolerance of sexual harassment and mistreatment of women.
“Sometimes, Clinton can no longer even appear in public without sparking angry protests,” Schoen said.
“This is profoundly sad to me because his enormous contributions to politics and policy often go unremarked and unacknowledged. Having heard him speak a number of times privately, I feel it is a profound loss to America that Bill Clinton no longer has the public voice that he used to.”
Clinton had no immediate comment through the Clinton Foundation or his presidential office.
But in 2006, Clinton and his top aides disputed an ABC documentary that portrayed him and his team as so consumed by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal that he failed to focus on the growing threat of bin Laden and al Qaeda to the U.S.