[Mb-civic] Report Shows Bush Neglecting Hunt for al Qaeda

The Daily Mislead latest at daily.misleader.org
Wed Sep 15 07:55:07 PDT 2004

< www.Misleader.org >


In the months after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush promised America he
would make the hunt for al Qaeda the number one objective of his
administration. "[We] do everything we can to chase [al Qaeda] down and
bring them to justice," Bush said. "That's a key priority, obviously, for me
and my administration."[1] But according to a new report, the President has
dangerously underfunded and understaffed the intelligence unit charged with
tracking down al Qaeda's leader.

The New York Times reports "Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New
York and the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency has fewer experienced
case officers assigned to its headquarters unit dealing with Osama bin Laden
than it did at the time of the attacks." The bin Laden unit is "stretched so
thin that it relies on inexperienced officers rotated in and out every 60 to
90 days, and they leave before they know enough to be able to perform any
meaningful work."[2]

The revelation comes months after the Associated Press reported the Bush
Treasury Department "has assigned five times as many agents to investigate
Cuban embargo violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden's" financial
infrastructure.[3] It also comes after USA Today reported that the President
shifted "resources from the bin Laden hunt to the war in Iraq" in 2002.
Specifically, Bush moved special forces tracking al Qaeda out of Afghanistan
and into Iraq war preparations. He also left the CIA "stretched badly in its
capacity to collect, translate and analyze information coming from
Afghanistan."[4] That has allowed these terrorists to regroup: according to
the senior intelligence officials in July of this year, bin Laden and other
top al Qaeda leaders are now directing a plot "to carry out a large-scale
terror attack against the United States" and are overseeing the plan "from
their remote hideouts somewhere along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."[5]


1. "President Calls for Ticket to Independence in Welfare Reform,"
WhiteHouse.gov, 5/10/02,
2. "C.I.A. Unit on bin Laden Is Understaffed, a Senior Official Tells
Lawmakers," New York Times, 9/15/04,
3. "More Agents Track Castro Than Bin Laden," Common Dreams News Center,
4/29/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1136375&l=55677.
4. "Shifts from bin Laden hunt evoke questions," USA Today, 3/28/04,
5. "Officials: Bin Laden guiding plots against U.S.," CNN.com, 7/08/04,

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