Monday, September 11, 2006


"Path to 9/11" Clinton didn't Get Osama! Clinton didn't Get Osama! Clinton didn't get Osama!

And what has Bush Done?

Report: CIA unit that hunted bin Laden closed
N.Y Times says officials don't see al-Qaida as hierarchical as it once was

The Associated Press

Updated: 8:06 a.m. ET July 5, 2006

NEW YORK - The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, The New York Times reported in its Tuesday edition.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the CIA Counterterrorist Center, the officials told the paper.

Intelligence officials said the realignment reflects a view that al-Qaida is no longer as hierarchical as it once was, as well as a growing concern about al-Qaida-inspired groups that have begun carrying out attacks independent of bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Agency officials said that tracking bin Laden and his deputies remained a high priority, and that the decision to disband the unit was not a sign that the effort had slackened.

Instead, the officials said, it reflects a belief that the agency can better deal with high-level threats by focusing on regional trends rather than on specific organizations or individuals, the Times reported.


Also from Democratic Underground:

Since today is the fifth anniversary of 9/11, it seems fitting that we focus on George W. Bush's efforts in the War on Terror - and if recent speeches by Our Great Leader are anything to go by, we've got a ways to go.

But to begin, let's travel back in time to March 13, 2002, when George W. Bush held a press conference at the White House to discuss the nomination of Charles Pickering to the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Since the press conference took place just six months after 9/11, Bush was inevitably asked whether there was any progress in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Here's his reply:

Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is - really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.

Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just - he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is - as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide - if, in fact, he's hiding at all.

So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.

As if that wasn't enough, Bush then reiterated:

Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I - I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.

Now, during the third presidential debate with John Kerry in 2004, Bush denied ever saying anything like this. But I'm afraid it's right there on the White House website.

So how's Bush's "not that concerned about him" plan working out? Well, since the GOP have got absolutely nothing left to run on but "Terror, Terror and More Terror" this fall, Osama is making a comeback.

Last week Bush was interviewed - and I use that term loosely - by Katie Couric on CBS's nightly news broadcast. According to Reuters:

President George W. Bush on Wednesday said capturing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who has eluded a U.S. manhunt since the Sept. 11 attacks five years ago, still mattered.

"He's hiding. And we're on the hunt, obviously," Bush said in an interview with Katie Couric of CBS News before his speech announcing that 14 high-level terrorism suspects had been transferred from secret CIA custody to the Defense Department's facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"Of course. It matters. He's, he's the head of al Qaeda," Bush said. "But one thing is for certain, though, he's, he's not moving like he used to. Another thing is ... he's, you know, not communicating like he used to."

The hunt continues for bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, as well as others, Bush said. "And we'll get him. It's just a matter of time. We've got a unit in the CIA who is spending a lot of time thinking about these high-value targets," he said.

Uh, gee, would that be the unit that was disbanded last year? But anyway - you heard the man. "It matters." "We'll get him." "We're on the hunt." "It's just a matter of time."

How much time?

Because it's been almost five years since Bush said, "I want justice. And there's an old poster out West… I recall, that said, 'Wanted, Dead or Alive.'" And it's been just over four years since Bush said, "In terms of Mr. bin Laden himself, we'll get him running. We'll smoke him out of his cave and we'll get him eventually."

Perhaps the Bush administration would have better luck if they started blowing smoke into bin Laden's cave instead of blowing it up each other's asses.

But despite ignoring him for five years, the Bushies are bringing Osama bin Laden back with a vengeance this fall. The Rude Pundit notes that in Bush's three recent terror speeches, bin Laden's name was mentioned 29 times (9/11 was mentioned 65 times).

But it's okay, because the Bush administration has come up with a great new way to deal with the Al Qaeda leader - they've given him a web page. You see, terrorism is not just about violence. Terrorists don't just use violent attacks to destroy particular targets - they use those attacks to force us to live in constant fear that they could attack again. I guess that's why it's called "terrorism." And apparently the Bush administration thinks that this isn't such a bad theory, which is why they've dedicated a whole page to terrorists' statements. Sure, the American homeland hasn't been attacked in the last five years - but it could happen at any moment, people! Be vigilant, and vote Republican!

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this exactly what the terrorists want - to terrorize us? Is it really necessary for the Bush administration to help them out by posting their statements on the White House website? And more to the point, are you shitting your pants yet?

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the bin Laden's trail has gone "stone cold."

The clandestine U.S. commandos whose job is to capture or kill Osama bin Laden have not received a credible lead in more than two years. Nothing from the vast U.S. intelligence world - no tips from informants, no snippets from electronic intercepts, no points on any satellite image - has led them anywhere near the al-Qaeda leader, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.

After playing down bin Laden's importance and barely mentioning him for several years, Bush last week repeatedly invoked his name and quoted from his writings and speeches to underscore what Bush said is the continuing threat of terrorism.

On the videotape obtained by the CIA, bin Laden is seen confidently instructing his party how to dig holes in the ground to lie in undetected at night. A bomb dropped by a U.S. aircraft can be seen exploding in the distance. "We were there last night," bin Laden says without much concern in his voice. He was in or headed toward Pakistan, counterterrorism officials think.

That was December 2001. Only two months later, Bush decided to pull out most of the special operations troops and their CIA counterparts in the paramilitary division that were leading the hunt for bin Laden in Afghanistan to prepare for war in Iraq, said Flynt L. Leverett, then an expert on the Middle East at the National Security Council.

"I was appalled when I learned about it," said Leverett, who has become an outspoken critic of the administration's counterterrorism policy. "I don't know of anyone who thought it was a good idea. It's very likely that bin Laden would be dead or in American custody if we hadn't done that."'

In light of these new reports, it's a little confusing to me that the Bush administration is suddenly invoking bin Laden's name at every turn and giving him a whole bunch of free advertising. Unless they've already got him in a deep freezer somewhere ready to drag out three days before the elections, of course.

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