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C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden

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Jade Hellene
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« on: October 06, 2007, 10:05:16 pm »

For future reference:

C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden

By MARK MAZZETTI
Published: July 4, 2006

WASHINGTON, July 3 The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.

The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice "dead or alive."

The realignment reflects a view that Al Qaeda is no longer as hierarchical as it once was, intelligence officials said, and a growing concern about Qaeda-inspired groups that have begun carrying out attacks independent of Mr. bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Agency officials said that tracking Mr. bin Laden and his deputies remained a high priority, and that the decision to disband the unit was not a sign that the effort had slackened. Instead, the officials said, it reflects a belief that the agency can better deal with high-level threats by focusing on regional trends rather than on specific organizations or individuals.

"The efforts to find Osama bin Laden are as strong as ever," said Jennifer Millerwise Dyck, a C.I.A. spokeswoman. "This is an agile agency, and the decision was made to ensure greater reach and focus."

The decision to close the unit was first reported Monday by National Public Radio.

Michael Scheuer, a former senior C.I.A. official who was the first head of the unit, said the move reflected a view within the agency that Mr. bin Laden was no longer the threat he once was.

Mr. Scheuer said that view was mistaken.

"This will clearly denigrate our operations against Al Qaeda," he said. "These days at the agency, bin Laden and Al Qaeda appear to be treated merely as first among equals."

In recent years, the war in Iraq has stretched the resources of the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, generating new priorities for American officials. For instance, much of the military's counterterrorism units, like the Army's Delta Force, had been redirected from the hunt for Mr. bin Laden to the search for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed last month in Iraq.

An intelligence official who was granted anonymity to discuss classified information said the closing of the bin Laden unit reflected a greater grasp of the organization. "Our understanding of Al Qaeda has greatly evolved from where it was in the late 1990's," the official said, but added, "There are still people who wake up every day with the job of trying to find bin Laden."

Established in 1996, when Mr. bin Laden's calls for global jihad were a source of increasing concern for officials in Washington, Alec Station operated in a similar fashion to that of other agency stations around the globe.

The two dozen staff members who worked at the station, which was named after Mr. Scheuer's son and was housed in leased offices near agency headquarters in northern Virginia, issued regular cables to the agency about Mr. bin Laden's growing abilities and his desire to strike American targets throughout the world.

In his book "Ghost Wars," which chronicles the agency's efforts to hunt Mr. bin Laden in the years before the Sept. 11 attacks, Steve Coll wrote that some inside the agency likened Alec Station to a cult that became obsessed with Al Qaeda.

"The bin Laden unit's analysts were so intense about their work that they made some of their C.I.A. colleagues uncomfortable," Mr. Coll wrote. Members of Alec Station "called themselves 'the Manson Family' because they had acquired a reputation for crazed alarmism about the rising Al Qaeda threat."

Intelligence officials said Alec Station was disbanded after Robert Grenier, who until February was in charge of the Counterterrorist Center, decided the agency needed to reorganize to better address constant changes in terrorist organizations.
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Jade Hellene
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2007, 10:11:55 pm »

Q    Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden.  Why is that?  Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive?  Final part  --  deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really eliminate the threat of  --

THE PRESIDENT:  Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all.  Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time.  And the idea of focusing on one person is --  really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.

Terror is bigger than one person.  And he's just  --  he's a person who's now been marginalized.  His network, his host government has been destroyed.  He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match.  He is  --  as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide  --  if, in fact, he's hiding at all.

So I don't know where he is.  You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.  I'm more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well-supplied; that the strategy is clear; that the coalition is strong; that when we find enemy bunched up like we did in Shahikot Mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did.

And there will be other battles in Afghanistan.  There's going to be other struggles like Shahikot, and I'm just as confident about the outcome of those future battles as I was about Shahikot, where our soldiers are performing brilliantly.  We're tough, we're strong, they're well-equipped. We have a good strategy.  We are showing the world we know how to fight a guerrilla war with conventional means.

Q    But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him.  And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure.  And, again, I don't know where he is.  I  --  I'll repeat what I said.  I truly am not that concerned about him.   I know he is on the run.  I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country.  I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.

But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became  --  we shoved him out more and more on the margins.  He has no place to train his al Qaeda killers anymore.  And if we  --  excuse me for a minute  --  and if we find a training camp, we'll take care of it. Either we will or our friends will. That's one of the things  --  part of the new phase that's becoming apparent to the American people is that we're working closely with other governments to deny sanctuary, or training, or a place to hide, or a place to raise money.

And we've got more work to do.  See, that's the thing the American people have got to understand, that we've only been at this six months. This is going to be a long struggle.  I keep saying that; I don't know whether you all believe me or not.  But time will show you that it's going to take a long time to achieve this objective.  And I can assure you, I am not going to blink.  And I'm not going to get tired.  Because I know what is at stake.  And history has called us to action, and I am going to seize this moment for the good of the world, for peace in the world and for freedom.


http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/03/20020313-8.html


« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 10:13:15 pm by Jade Hellene » Report Spam   Logged

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Jade Hellene
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2007, 10:16:12 pm »



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Jade Hellene
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2007, 10:16:40 pm »

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Volitzer
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2007, 12:03:16 am »

Of course, everyone knows it was an inside job so why focus on something that was an obvious "WAG THE DOG" operation.
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MinisterofInfo
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2007, 03:43:19 am »

Bin Laden is dead anyway.  Anyone knows that he was simply a figurehead set up to conceal the real criminals.
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