By Geneva Sands - 05/03/12 01:33 PM EDT
A year after the killing of Osama bin Laden, Bill Clinton revealed that despite being a former president and the husband of the secretary of State, he had no prior knowledge of the Pakistan raid.
"I'm pretty sure I was notified by the White House, not the State Department, which is exactly the right thing. She [Hillary Clinton] never said a word to me about this, which is exactly the right thing," said Clinton on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," set to air Thursday.
Clinton corroborated her husband's recollection of the events, saying she kept the mission secret from everyone.
President Clinton told DeGeneres that when his wife took over at the State Department, he chose to forgo receiving daily intelligence briefings, which are afforded to former presidents.
"When she got named to that position I said, 'Look, I don't want more briefings, unless the president of the National Security Council, the White House people want me to have it,' because I give too many talks, I do too much work, I never want to inadvertently say something that complicates their jobs, so I didn't know about it until they told me," he said.
"She never said a word," added Clinton.
"So then you called and said, 'I know, you can tell me now,' " responded DeGeneres to laughter from the audience and Clinton.
When asked about his reaction to the death of bin Laden, the former president said he was "deeply" emotional.
"It was deeply, personally emotional, because I'm a New Yorker; I knew people who died on 9/11," he said.