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Former president Bill Clinton has been living with a secret for more than decade that could have altered American history as we know it.

An unearthed recording discovers that the popular commander-in-chief had the opportunity to rid the world of Osama Bin Laden a day before the September 11 attacks. But his reasoning for not doing so during the lame duck period of his presidency may require some critical judgement to form an opinion.

Reports NBC News:

The recording was lost and forgotten about until last week, when Michael Kroger, the former head of the Liberal Party in the Australian state of Victoria, remembered he had the tape, and Sky News in Australia played it on Thursday.

“I’m just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden — he’s a very smart guy, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about him — and I nearly got him once,” Clinton says in the recording. “I nearly got him. And I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I just didn’t do it.”

To play devil’s advocate, the attacks on the Twin Towers very well may have been carried out with the same intensity had Clinton acted on the strike. No one will ever know for sure.

Bin Laden was killed on May 2, 2011 during a Navy Seals operation in Pakistan.