On 13 November 1995, a bomb was set off in a van parked in front of an American-run military training center in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, killing five Americans and two Indians. Saudi Arabian authorities arrested four Saudi nationals whom they claim confessed to the bombings, but U.S. officials were denied permission to see or question the suspects before they were convicted and beheaded in May 1996.
On 25 June 1996, a booby-trapped truck loaded with 5,000 pounds of explosives was exploded outside the Khobar Towers apartment complex which housed United States military personnel in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing nineteen Americans and wounding about three hundred others. Once again, the U.S. investigation was hampered by the refusal of Saudi officials to allow the FBI to question suspects.On 21 June 2001, just before the American statute of limitations would have expired, a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, indicted thirteen Saudis and an unidentified Lebanese chemist for the Khobar Towers bombing. The suspects remain in Saudi custody, beyond the reach of the American justice system. (Saudi Arabia has no extradition treaty with the U.S.)
On 7 August 1998, powerful car bombs exploded minutes apart outside the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 224 people and wounding about 5,000 others. Four participants with ties to Osama bin Laden were captured, convicted in U.S. federal court, and sentenced to life in prison without parole in October 2001. Fourteen other suspects indicted in the case remain at large, and three more are fighting extradition in London.
On 12 October 2000, two suicide bombers detonated an explosives-laden skiff next to the USS Cole
while it was refueling in Aden, Yemen, blasting a hole in the ship that killed 17 sailors and injured 37 others. No suspects have yet been arrested or indicted. The investigation has been hampered by the refusal of Yemini officials to allow FBI agents access to Yemeni nationals and other suspects in custody in Yemen.
(The USS Cole bombing occurred one month before the 2000 presidential election, so even under the best of circumstances it was unlikely that the investigation could have been completed before the end of President Clinton's term of office three months later.)
In August 1998, President Clinton ordered missile strikes against targets in Afghanistan in an effort to hit Osama bin Laden
, who had been linked to the embassy bombings in Africa (and was later connected to the attack on the USS Cole). The missiles reportedly missed bin Laden by a few hours, and Clinton was widely criticized by many who claimed he had ordered the strikes primarily to draw attention away from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.