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Report Shows Bush Neglecting Hunt for al Qaeda
from Daily Mislead
September 15, 2004

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, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=55681. 2. "C.I.A. Unit on bin Laden Is Understaffed, a Senior Official Tells Lawmakers," New York Times, 9/15/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=55682.
3. "More Agents Track Castro Than Bin Laden," Common Dreams News Center, 4/29/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=55683.
4. "Shifts from bin Laden hunt evoke questions," USA Today, 3/28/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=55684.
5. "Officials: Bin Laden guiding plots against U.S.," CNN.com, 7/08/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=55685.

Posted: September 27, 2004


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