Monday, 06 June 2011

CIA’s Bin Laden Hunter Ordered to Stand Down 10 Times

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Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA's) Osama bin Laden unit, told the U.K. Daily Telegraph in a recent interview he was prevented from capturing or killing the terrorist by his superiors on at least 10 separate occasions.

The 22-year CIA veteran-turned-whistle=blower resigned from the agency in 2004, disgusted by the government’s lies surrounding the terror war. And he’s been embarrassing the U.S. establishment ever since.

In 1995, Scheuer was selected to lead the spy agency’s bin Laden efforts. By then the militant Islamist was exiled in Sudan after angering Saudi authorities. Bin Laden was running several businesses in the African nation that Scheuer suggested disrupting. “We formulated operations and submitted them for approval but they would not approve any of them,” the ex-CIA official told the Daily Telegraph. “If we had been able to deal a serious economic blow it could have been a show-stopper.”

The next year, bin Laden declared war on the American government. And in 1997, when bin Laden was again living in Afghanistan, Scheuer said his team groomed a band of Afghans to capture the suspected terror boss. There were at least two “clear opportunities” to bring down bin Laden by the middle of 1998, according to Scheuer. But in both cases, he said, CIA bosses refused to proceed.

Then, in August of that year, bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network bombed two American embassies in Africa. Bin Laden said the embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, was targeted for serving as a U.S. intelligence hub for the CIA. The attacks killed numerous U.S. diplomats and at least two CIA agents, according to the Associated Press.

Scheuer told the Telegraph that following the missed opportunities to kill or capture bin Laden in 1998, there were at least eight other chances to get the terror mastermind. By that point, bin Laden was supposedly among the U.S. government’s most wanted criminals. But for some unknown reason, senior officials refused to authorize his capture or assassination.

“One 50-cent round could have put us all out of our agony,” Scheuer explained. But that didn’t happen, as high-level authorities consistently ordered the CIA unit not to stop bin Laden.

In 1999, Scheuer told the paper that he sent an angry letter to higher-ups demanding to know why his men were risking their lives for somebody the U.S. government did not seem to want stopped. “I don’t know what you are doing when you talk to the President but he will not get a better opportunity than this,” Scheuer explained to his superiors.

Eventually, the bin Laden-unit chief, Scheuer, was dismissed from his position before being reinstated after the September 11 attacks. A few months after that, the U.S. government and its allies had bin Laden surrounded in the mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan. But yet again, high-level officials let him escape.

A Senate investigation from 2009 explained some of the details in its summary. With bin Laden trapped, “calls for reinforcements to launch an assault were rejected. Requests were also turned down for U.S. troops to block the mountain paths leading to sanctuary a few miles away in Pakistan,” the document states. “The vast array of American military power … was kept on the sidelines.”

And according to the report, the decision not to capture or assassinate bin Laden, or at least cut off his escape route, was made by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commander, Gen. Tommy Franks. Despite subsequent Bush administration protestations to the contrary, “the review of existing literature, unclassified government records and interviews with central participants underlying this report removes any lingering doubts and makes it clear that Osama bin Laden was within our grasp at Tora Bora,” the Senate report concluded.

More than a few other reported examples of bin Laden being deliberately allowed to escape by senior officials in the United States and other governments have surfaced over the last decade. But according to the current version of President Obama’s ever-changing narrative, the terror leader was finally shot through the head by U.S. forces after being found unarmed at a hideout in Pakistan. His body was then supposedly dumped in the ocean for unknown reasons.

But questions continue to plague the government on almost every front. Since resigning over government lies, Scheuer in particular has been a persistent thorn in the side of American officials. He has published several widely acclaimed books criticizing U.S. policies including Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror and Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq. And he regularly makes inflammatory statements in media appearances and speeches, too.

Last month, speaking in the U.K., Scheuer said American and British officials including Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron “don’t have a clue” about the terror war or what is going on in the West. “The main recruitment sergeant for al Qaeda is Barack Obama,” he charged.

And according to Scheuer it has nothing to do with America‘s rapidly vanishing freedoms, as the government continues to claim. “We are being attacked in the West and we will continue to be attacked in the West as long as we are in Afghanistan, as long as we support the Israelis, as long as we protect the Saudi police state,” Scheuer told the crowd. “They can’t cope with the fact that it’s nothing to do with the way we live. It doesn’t have anything to do with elections or democracy or liberty.” He asserted that the West was being attacked for “supporting fascism across the Middle East,” not so-called “gender equality” or any such notions.

In the recent past, Scheuer also accused the U.S. government’s 9/11 Commission of deliberately hiding the truth about the attacks. “It was a whitewash and a lie from top to bottom,” he told Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Numerous lawmakers and high-level officials have also made various allegations about why it took the government 10 years to get bin Laden. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), for example, accused then-President George W. Bush of “intentionally” allowing bin Laden to elude capture to justify the invasion of Iraq.

As The New American reported recently, bin Laden, his al-Qaeda network and other Islamic extremists have indeed enjoyed a sort love-hate relationship with the American government for decades. Even now, the Obama administration and the United Nations are backing an insurgency in Libya against its former ally, dictator Moammar Gadhafi, where certain leadership elements are known to be affiliated directly with al-Qaeda and related groups.

Why high-ranking officials in the U.S. government would have let bin Laden escape on so many occasions is certainly a matter that should be investigated by the press and authorities. Speculation has been running rampant for years. But unfortunately for Americans, analysts don’t expect serious inquiries to happen any time soon.

Photo of Osama bin Laden: AP Images

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