Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bush & Bin Laden 2005

The Bush Administration released a previously classified report indicating Osama bin Laden's efforts to organize attacks on the U.S. through his associates in Iraq.

President Bush, trying to defend his war strategy, declassified intelligence Tuesday asserting that Osama bin Laden ordered a top lieutenant in early 2005 to form a terrorist cell that would conduct attacks outside Iraq - and that the United States should be the top target.

The information mirrored a classified bulletin from the Homeland Security Department in March 2005, reporting that bin Laden had enlisted Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, his senior operative in Iraq, to plan potential strikes in the U.S. The warning was described at the time as credible but not specific and did not prompt the administration to raise its national terror alert level.

What else did President Bush do in 2005? He shut down the CIA task force hunting for bin Laden, rolling staff into its Counter-Terrorist Center. One retired CIA official with many years heading the specialized unit stated the move reflected a view within the agency that Mr. bin Laden was no longer the threat he once was. He disagreed with such an assessment, still considering Osama a potent threat.

Why would the President raise the specter of an uncaptured Osama bin Laden?

The declassification of the 2005 intelligence came a day before Bush was scheduled to speak about terrorism at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

I bet Bush drives home the extinguishing of al-Zarqawi but glosses over his failure to find the perpetrator of his favorite mantra.

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