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Bin Laden Surprised By 9/11 Retaliation?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 30, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: A former Usama bin Laden associate has come forward with shocking allegations about the 9/11 terror attacks. Now, the man's name is Noman Benotman, and he claims that he was with bin Laden in the months just prior to the attacks.

And now, in an interview with a WTOP reporter, the man says bin Laden was stunned at the way the U.S. responded to the attacks. Now he says the Al Qaeda leader did not expect President George W. Bush to retaliate the way he did.

And according to this associate, it all stems from the way President Bush's predecessor handled terrorism. Instead, this aide says bin Laden was anticipating the same weak reaction to terrorism that we saw throughout the Clinton administration.

Now, listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

NOMAN BENOTMAN, FORMER BIN LADEN ASSOCIATE: What happened after the 11th of September, it's beyond the imagination. I am 100 percent sure they haven't a clue about what is going to happen. They said, "This time, maybe they're going to launch 200 cruise missiles."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And joining me now with reaction to this 9/11 shocker is the host of "War Stories" right here on the Fox News Channel, the one and only Colonel Oliver North.

How are you?

COL. OLIVER NORTH, HOST, "WAR STORIES": Glad to be back.

HANNITY: He claims that he was there during the planning of the 9/11 attack. And that bin Laden's reaction was "They're never going to hit us back," because of the way Clinton responded. Or didn't respond.

NORTH: Bill Clinton is a child of the '60s. Thirty-five years ago tonight the last helicopters were leaving the roof of the American embassy in Saigon. So Bill Clinton got what he wanted from that exchange — of course he was an antiwar resister back in the '60s.

And I don't think anybody should have expected Bill Clinton to respond any differently than what he did after embassies are blown up or ships are hit, all the rest of the things that occurred in the Clinton administration.

The bottom line of it is, George W. Bush was not cut from the same bolt of cloth as William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, and we ought to be thankful for it.

HANNITY: Well, but what he is saying, the way I'm interpreting this, after the embassy bombings in Kenya, Tanzania, the Khobar Towers, the USS Cole, the first Trade Center bombing, is that they're at war with us. America is not going to respond. So they anticipated...

NORTH: The same kind of response.

HANNITY: ... the same kind of non-response.

NORTH: And what — clearly, Usama bin Laden did not register with him. It just shows his lack of understanding of the American people. Less so the presidency, but the American people could not tolerate something like what happened on 9/11/01 in this country.

And the end result of that has been, I think, a stunner for almost everybody involved in the Al Qaeda leadership. Whether it's in the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan or whether it was in Iraq. They never expected the Americans to fight back. We do fight back.

HANNITY: Alright. Now, move to where we are today. Because the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission report, they're at war with us. We're not at war with them. So bin Laden came to what was an obvious conclusion, based on events as they were unfolding.

Now, we just heard last week our own secretary of defense tell this country they think that Iran, that tiny country that President Obama was talking about, they don't represent a threat. They don't pose a threat. We can negotiate without preconditions.

Iran is going to have a nuclear weapon, perhaps a ballistic missile, and a weapon that can hit the United States within five years. And this very day President Obama is saying the sanctions they were planning, they're not going to follow through on.

NORTH: And furthermore, whatever Obama was planning in terms of sanctions on Iran were not going to be effective anyway.

There's only one kind sanction that would work, and that is if the president issues an executive order. He's got them, by the way. There's a book called the PEADs. It's the Presidential Emergency Action Documents. I know, because I used to work there.

One of those documents allows the president by executive order, in time of crisis, when America's national security is threatened, to embargo any — any company that cooperates with an enemy.

And so, for example, if the president really wanted sanctions to work, he could say to anybody in the world, "If you do business with the Iranian government, you cannot do business in America." And everything would stop. The Germans who are selling them all the equipment that they need, the Swiss, the French, the Chinese…

HANNITY: The Russians.

NORTH: …they all would say, "Wait a minute. We're not going to be banned from doing business in America. We're going to stop doing business with Iran."

That's what it is going to take, Sean. Waiting for the United Nations to do something has been totally ineffective.

HANNITY: Alright. Now, what about our relationship with Israel? The snubbing of Netanyahu. The criticisms — you know, it seems somebody said it, and I don't remember who, and I'm quoting somebody so forgive me.

But you know, it seems that Obama is more upset about the building of homes and settlements in Israel than the building of the bomb in Iran. And now we have alienated our closest ally, and there's been talk, Brzezinski and others saying that, if the Israelis decide to take out the nuclear facilities and they go over Iraqi air space, American jets may confront our closest ally and shoot them out of the sky?

NORTH: Here's another touch of reality out there. The Israelis can't hit those targets in Iran without American acquiescence. Everybody knows that. And the Iranians know it. In other words, you're going to have to overfly in some NATO-controlled air space or refuel at a NATO or U.S.- controlled base somewhere like Iraq or Afghanistan.

HANNITY: So Obama can stop the Israelis if he wants to? If they deem it in their national security interest?

NORTH: The Israeli Air Force is not going to make a one-way trip to Iran. That's a fact. The Israeli Air Force knows that they can't refuel over hostile territory.

HANNITY: Do you really believe Barack Obama would give the order that if the Israelis...

NORTH: No.

HANNITY: You think he would let them do it?

NORTH: No. I think — I think what Barack Obama is obviously planning to do is to somehow deal with a nuclear armed Iran. That's what Bob Gates' memo of two weeks ago says.

HANNITY: Alright. He's saying that. So the Israelis are not prepared to deal with that?

NORTH: Well because they know target number one is Tel Aviv. They know. Which is one of the reasons why Israel is so afraid of this.

HANNITY: Here's my question, though. If the Israelis decide it's in their national interest, because how many times can you threaten to wipe them off the map before you act? And they — they decide they're going to act, what will this president do?

NORTH: Nothing. In other words — but by doing nothing, he says you cannot refuel at a U.S.-controlled base or NATO base. And that means the Israelis cannot attack, because these Israelis are not going to make a one- way strip. They're not going to fly over Iran and then go back over the Persian Gulf and ditch their airplanes.

HANNITY: Will they — will they risk — will they risk flying over Iraq and risk confrontation with American...

NORTH: Well, if the Israelis see something being put on the end of a Shabaz missile that can reach Tel Aviv…

HANNITY: They'll do it.

NORTH: …the Israelis have no choice but to act, because they know what they're target number one.

HANNITY: Alright, Colonel. Good to see you.

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