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CIA Commander: We Let bin Laden Slip Away

Discussion in 'Legal' started by rick_reno, Aug 7, 2005.

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  1. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8853000/site/newsweek/

    Aug. 15, 2005 issue - 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. "He was there," Berntsen tells NEWSWEEK. Asked to comment on Berntsen's remarks, National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones passed on 2004 statements from former CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks. "We don't know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora in December 2001," Franks wrote in an Oct. 19 New York Times op-ed. "Bin Laden was never within our grasp." Berntsen says Franks is "a great American. But he was not on the ground out there. I was."

    In his book—titled "Jawbreaker"—the decorated career CIA officer criticizes Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Department for not providing enough support to the CIA and the Pentagon's own Special Forces teams in the final hours of Tora Bora, says Berntsen's lawyer, Roy Krieger. (Berntsen would not divulge the book's specifics, saying he's awaiting CIA clearance.) That backs up other recent accounts, including that of military author Sean Naylor, who calls Tora Bora a "strategic disaster" because the Pentagon refused to deploy a cordon of conventional forces to cut off escaping Qaeda and Taliban members. Maj. Todd Vician, a Defense Department spokesman, says the problem at Tora Bora "was not necessarily just the number of troops."

    Berntsen's book gives, by contrast, a heroic portrayal of CIA activities at Tora Bora and in the war on terror. Ironically, he has sued the agency over what he calls unacceptable delays in approving his book—a standard process for ex-agency employees describing classified matters. "They're just holding the book," which is scheduled for October release, he says. "CIA officers, Special Forces and U.S. air power drove the Taliban out in 70 days. The CIA has taken roughly 80 days to clear my book." Jennifer Millerwise, a CIA spokeswoman, says Berntsen's "timeline is not accurate," adding that he submitted his book as an ex-employee only in mid-June. "We take seriously our goal of responding quickly."

    —Michael Hirsh
     
  2. fourays2

    fourays2 Member

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    has anyone else noticed how the left now supports the CIA? how did this happen, I always thought the left viewed the CIA as responsible for all the worlds problem?
     
  3. DelayedReaction

    DelayedReaction Member

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    I think it's more appropriate to say the left supports anything that can be used to hurt the right, and vice versa. Being in the middle sure makes it fun to watch the fireworks.

    If this man's allegations are true, that's pretty nasty. There is nothing Americans want more than the removal of Osama bin Laden from the world stage, and any percieved failure in reaching that goal isn't going to be taken lightly.
     
  4. GunGoBoom

    GunGoBoom member

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    Kerry is right. This is not rocket science. We KNOW that 4 years ago, Osama's group killed a bunch of people in NY, Penn, and DC. The Prez vowed to get him. But instead of getting him, 4 years later, he has utterly failed to do so, because of his diversion of massive military resources AWAY FROM hunting Osama to another military action, which as it happens has/had very little to no US interest at stake. A bigger failure as a president I cannot recall. :neener:
     
  5. Rebar

    Rebar member

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    More liberal/left propaganda, and old propaganda at that. I guess the current crop of lies like "Rovegate" have fallen flat, now they're reduced to recycling nonsense from before the last election. Pretty pathetic, what's next, resurrecting Bush's ANG service again?
    We HAD no "massive military resources" in Afganistan to BE diverted. The whole war was based on Northern alliance troops backed by US airpower. The Northern alliance troops dropped the ball, but they were the only team in town.
     
  6. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    Well, if they would have only sent Jack Ryan over there, OBL would be history or else in Gitmo right now... ;)

    OTOH, maybe they did, and he got 'im, and they are keeping it all a secret :p
     
  7. GunGoBoom

    GunGoBoom member

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    Yeah, I was kinda playin devils advocate, knowing I'd get flamed :) - fact is, he may be dead; if so, then the goal has been accomplished.
     
  8. CAnnoneer

    CAnnoneer Member

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    +1 GunGoBoom for pres as failure.

    Rebar, I find myself at a loss as to what kind of evidence/testimony/observation/etc, if any, it would take to change your views of B2 and his administration. :)
     
  9. Rebar

    Rebar member

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    Bring some facts and logic to the table, for a change.

    For example, detail the so-called "massive military resources" that were in Afganistan at the start of the Tora Bora operation, that were "diverted" because of Iraq. As far as I know, there wasn't a single US division in Afganistan at the time, feel free to correct me, if you can.
     
  10. gc70

    gc70 Member

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  11. 3rdpig

    3rdpig Member

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    I just don't understand how anyone can be in the "middle" on these issues. I'm not attacking you personally, but I speak to a lot of different people in my job, and everyone I've spoke to that claims to be in the "middle" either comes across as someone who doesn't have a clue, doesn't care, is too wishy washy to make up their minds, or as someone who has no strong opinions on anything.
     
  12. seansean

    seansean Member

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    Bush is a huge failure, a liar, a con artist,a chickenhawk, and a coward. Not taking time to meet with cindy sheehan yesterday, someone who lost a son in bush's war, is shameful, but doesn't surprise me. He must have been too busy clearing brush. I hope patrick fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, puts him and every lying, thieving, scumbag, democrat or republican, that lied us into this war in prison for life, no parole. Bring on the flame :fire:
     
  13. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Politics and Tora Bora

    First off, we did have UBL within reach at T.B.. I'm not going to try to remember names right now, if requested, I'll post them later. Anyway, we had him cornered, the CIA Agent in Charge wired Wa. D.C. asking for dry ice (he was told to send UBL's head to the oval office) and was immediately informed that indigenous forces were taking over and they would handle the actual capture/kill. Yet another political decision that has cost lives and money and time with nobody stepping up to say they were responsible for the decision.
     
  14. tulsamal

    tulsamal Member

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    I just don't think it is worthwhile to use field intelligence in hindsight. Whether you are talking about the attack on Pearly Harbor or 9/11, you can always go back and sort through the stacks on raw intel and "prove" that the people in charge either "knew about it" or were incompetent for not seeing it.

    The intelligence we get today is like standing in the middle of the Mississippi River and trying to ID every fish that goes by. I'm sure there was intel that suggested OBL was at that spot. But there was probably intel that said he was in Syria and others that said he was on the other side of Iraq. You can't send out a strike team in each case. This is the challenge of the intel community today. Get intel in hand and _correctly_ interpreted before events move on and the intel is no longer of any use.

    This type of story fails the "common sense" test. I remember vast numbers of people telling me that Bush would either kill or capture OBL right before the last election. We "knew where he was all along" but we were delaying things to give Bush a last minute boost in the polls. Now these guys are claiming Bush had a chance to kill OBL but decided not to do so. Why in the world would he do that? Bush has several dozen things he would like to accomplish in his Presidency but I would say getting credit for killing or capturing OBL would be in the top five. If the intell people really had come forward and said they were "90% sure" OBL was in our reach, Bush would have been scrambling everything up to B-2 bombers to take him out!

    Gregg
     
  15. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    Last I heard, Bin Laden was kickin' it with Emmanuel Goldstein.
     
  16. toivo

    toivo Member

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    Consider the possibility that Bush intended to go to Iraq all along, and therefore never committed to Afghanistan the resources that would've been necessary to finally defeat the Taliban and capture OBL, choosing instead to entrust the primary mission of the War on Terror to the Northern Alliance warlords. Once the Iraq war started, no one was watching Afghanistan anymore, and it is now slipping back into anarchy.
     
  17. rock jock

    rock jock Member

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    Still smarting over the Florida loss? Get over it.
     
  18. Rebar

    Rebar member

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    Consider the possibility that maybe the Northern Alliance didn't want massive US troops in the country, that supplying large numbers of US troops would be nearly impossible, that getting the troops into the country would have been exceedingly difficult, and would have taken a very long time, that it would have taken more divisions than is in the US military to seal off all the escape routs over those mountains, so on and so forth.

    It's childish, magical thinking that all Rumsfeld had to do was wave a magic wand, and presto - 20 divisions of US mountain troops would have appeared to capture OBL, and he didn't because, well, because he's an evil old man! This kind of thinking is what makes me dispise and mock the liberal/left.

    It's easy to consider just the "possibilities" that make Bush look bad. When you look at all the factors, then it starts to look a lot like what could be done, was done. But that doesn't serve the real purpose, which is to bash Bush.

    Take that nonsense back to DU please, it has no place on THR.
     
  19. seansean

    seansean Member

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    actually, I'm not a member of du, and, this being the legal and political forum, it does have a place here. You don't have to agree with my pov for it to be a valid pov.
     
  20. Rebar

    Rebar member

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    A pov? All I see is a steaming pile of slanders that have been refuted time and time again here, a pile that could have been cut-and-pasted from any DU or moveon.org talking points.
     
  21. seansean

    seansean Member

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    your pov has also been refuted time and time again, not necessarily here, but in the"reality-based" community. you know, the one where iraq didn't have WMD, wasn't an imminent threat, but bush said they did and they were. it's funny, rafael palmeiro may face charges for lying to congress( a felony under U.S. Code title 18) about steroids, No wonder bush defended him. If I were GWB, I'd be getting mighty nervous about now. :)
     
  22. Rebar

    Rebar member

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    Uh, no. Just use the search function for your favorite Bush-bashing topics, and you'll learn why all your DU buddies are wrong.
     
  23. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    Nervous for what? Advocating a position taken by the American gov't for better than a decade before he took office? For stating what Iraq's own allies had stated?

    Liberals tend to forget that no one really disputed Iraq having WMD (even Clinton, Kerry and Gore were on record concerning this issue). The question was what to do about it. And the liberals voted to support a military option.

    The real liars are the ones claiming that Bush was making it up out whole cloth when he was talking of the threat.
     
  24. longhorngunman

    longhorngunman Member

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  25. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    seansean- If you want to criticize the current administration, perhaps you'd get further with legitimate examples backed up with logical thinking.

    rebar- take a chill pill.

    :rolleyes:
     
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