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Clinton had plan to arrest or kill bin Laden

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former President Bill Clinton said Saturday he had authorized a plan to arrest, and if necessary, kill accused terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden -- and had even contacted a group in Afghanistan to carry out the plan.

But that group was not successful, he said.

Speaking to reporters after he appeared in a news conference with New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Clinton said his administration did everything it could do to stop bin Laden, who was accused of masterminding the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa while Clinton was president.

"We also trained commandos for a possible ground action, but we did not have the necessary intelligence to do it," he said.

Now, Clinton said, the United States has "support from people who would not have supported us then. And they give us more tactical options than were available then."

He said President Bush has a hard job in deciding what to do about bin Laden.

"There are a lot of operational issues about putting ground troops in there that I think will be still not easy, the president's still got some tough tactical calls to make, but I think he's clearly handling this in a very careful, deliberate and strong way," Clinton said.

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