Monday, January 02, 2006

Bush, military leaders let bin Laden escape

CIA operative says Bush, military leaders let bin Laden escape

Capitol Hill Blue | January 2 2006


The top CIA counterterrorism officer who tracked Osama bin Laden through the mountains of Afghanistan says the United States could have captured the terrorist leader if President George W. Bush and the American military had devoted the necessary resources to the hunt and capture.

In addition, says Gary Bernsten, a decorated espionage officer, the post-Cold War downturn in recruitment and attention to espionage has left a crippled spy agency that will need a decade or more to build up its clandestine service for the U.S. war on terrorism.

Berntsen led a paramilitary unit code-named "Jawbreaker" in the war that toppled the Taliban after the September 11 attacks.

He says his Jawbreaker team tracked bin Laden to Afghanistan's Tora Bora region late in 2001 and could have killed or captured the al Qaeda leader there if military officials had agreed to his request for an additional force of about 800 U.S. troops. But the administration was already gearing up for war with Iraq and troops were never sent, allowing bin Laden to escape.

In the book, Berntsen says his Jawbreaker team tracked bin Laden to Afghanistan's Tora Bora region late in 2001 and could have killed or captured the al Qaeda leader there if military officials had agreed to his request for an additional force of about 800 U.S. troops.

But the troops were never sent and bin Laden was able to escape, he said.

His account contradicts public statements by Bush and former Gen. Tommy Franks, who maintained that U.S. officials were never sure bin Laden was at Tora Bora.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home