Sunday, August 07, 2005

CIA Commander: We Let bin Laden Slip Away

CIA Commander: We Let bin Laden Slip Away
  During the 2004 presidential campaign, George W. Bush and John Kerry battled about whether Osama bin Laden had escaped from Tora Bora in the final days of the war in Afghanistan. Bush, Kerry charged, 'didn't choose to use American forces to hunt down and kill' the leader of Al Qaeda. The president called his opponent's allegation 'the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking.' Bush asserted that U.S. commanders on the ground did not know if bin Laden was at the mountain hideaway along the Afghan border."
  But in a forthcoming book, the CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders did know that bin Laden was among the hundreds of fleeing Qaeda and Taliban members. Berntsen says he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora—intelligence operatives had tracked him—and could have been caught.


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