Initially the U.S. claimed the Shifa factory manufactured ingredients for chemical weapons, not medicines, and that Bin Laden had a direct financial interest in it. "Since then, they've had to backtrack on a few of those claims and add others," says TIME national security correspondent Douglas Waller. The U.S. subsequently conceded that the factory did produce pharmaceuticals; scaled back its claim that chemical-weapon components were actually manufactured there, and conceded that the Bin Laden link was based on "strong indirect evidence."
Sudan, which had already managed to paint itself as the aggrieved party in
this exchange, got a considerable boost from Carter's statements and is
expected use this week's U.N. General Assembly session to press
its case. Clinton might have picked a more benign setting to further his
business-as-usual agenda. On the other hand, with the Clinton testimony tape
released Monday, it's likely that not many Americans will spend the
day watching speeches at the U.N.