Ask FactCheck: Week ending Jan. 18

January 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
FactCheck.org answers your questions about U.S. politics.

Jan. 18, 2008

Q: Did Bill Clinton pass up a chance to kill Osama bin Laden?
A: Probably not, and it would not have mattered anyway as there was no evidence at the time that bin Laden had committed any crimes against American citizens.

Correction: We originally answered this question with a flat 'yes' early this week, based on the account in "The Looming Tower," but an alert reader pointed out to us the more tangled history laid out in the 9/11 Commission report. We said flatly that Sudan had made such an offer. We have deleted our original answer and are posting this corrected version in its place.

Q: What was known to U.S. intelligence and Congress about WMDs in Iraq before the vote to go to war?
A: Senior U.S. intelligence officials believed, incorrectly, that Iraq had stockpiles of chemical and germ weapons and was developing nuclear weapons. They also agreed Saddam Hussein wouldn't give such weapons to terrorists unless attacked. Few members of Congress read the full 92-page report with all its qualifications and dissents.

Q: Have tax cuts always resulted in higher tax revenues and more economic growth as many tax cut proponents claim?
A: No. In fact, economists say tax cuts do not spark enough growth to pay for themselves.

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