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“In the memo’s margin,” the report states, “Berger wrote that before considering action, ‘I will want more than verified location: we will need, at least, data on pattern of movements to provide some assurance he will remain in place.’”

The commission’s report also notes a speech that Mr. Clinton gave to the Long Island Association on Feb. 15, 2002, in which — in the answer to a query from a member of the audience — he said that Sudan offered to turn over bin Laden to U.S. custody, but Mr. Clinton refused because “there was no indictment” in hand.

Mr. Clinton told the commission in April that he had “misspoken” and was never offered bin Laden.

Frank J. Gaffney, a former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy under President Reagan, said the September 11 report makes it clear that the Clinton administration “didn’t take terrorism terribly seriously.”

“Their approach to terrorism was like their approach to national security in general,” Mr. Gaffney said. “They certainly didn’t pursue it in any consistent and robust way.”

To strike at al Qaeda the way Mr. Clarke suggested several times, Mr. Gaffney said, would have involved defending the actions as thoroughly as President Bush has the invasion of Iraq.

Mr. Berger defended the bombing of the suspected Sudan chemical factory in a February 1999 press conference by saying that “had we not and had a chemical weapon been used subsequently in the San Francisco subway system, I would find it hard to have defended our inaction.”

“At the very least, [striking at bin Laden] should have been tried,” Mr. Gaffney said. “It would have been better and easier and more prudent to deal with that threat in Sudan or in Afghanistan rather than have to deal with it in New York or Washington.”