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."
But according to a new report, the President has
dangerously underfunded and understaffed the intelligence
unit charged with tracking down al Qaeda's leader.
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."
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. 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." 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."
"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,
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