August 03, 2003

UBL Hunt Where (if alive)

UBL Hunt

Where (if alive) is he? Some informed speculation:

"Mansoor Ijaz is an American financier with family members in Pakistan who are connected with intelligence circles there. A New York-based investment company he owns, Crescent Investment Management, has ties to the international intelligence community through James Woolsey, a former director of the C.I.A., who serves on the company’s board. Ijaz recently returned from a trip to Pakistan. In an interview, he contended that bin Laden was “very much alive, and hiding in the tribal areas”—that is, in the borderlands dominated by ethnic Pashtuns. Ijaz said that, during his trip, he spoke with top intelligence figures in the region. “Bin Laden is travelling around within about a hundred-and-fifty-mile diameter,” he said. “He’s essentially being babysat by tribal leaders who have an arm’s-length relationship with the Pakistani government. The tribal leaders have said he can’t move except at night, and he can’t communicate by phone, radio, or walkie-talkie. He knows it is too dangerous. They have constructed a perfect spider’s web of communication.” Ijaz said he had been told that bin Laden communicated via “handwritten notes” transmitted by “a human chain-link fence,” because word of mouth had proved unreliable. “Some of his messages were not being correctly communicated,” he said.

Ijaz said he’d been told that bin Laden was surrounded by concentric circles of security: an outer ring of loyal villagers, a second ring of tribal leaders, and an inner ring of personal aides and bodyguards. “Since he’s surrounded by devout followers, there’s virtually no chance of the U.S. being able to pinpoint him,” he said."

Meanwhile, in a likely Clinton approved leak, we are treated to this blast from the past:

"Soon afterward, he told me, C.I.A. officials went to the White House and said they had “specific, predictive, actionable” intelligence that bin Laden would soon be attending a particular meeting, in a particular place. “It was a rare occurrence,” Clarke said. Clinton authorized a lethal attack. The target date, however—August 20, 1998—nearly coincided with Clinton’s deposition about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Clarke said that he and other top national-security officials at the White House went to see Clinton to warn him that he would likely be accused of “wagging the dog” in order to distract the public from his political embarrassment. Clinton was enraged. “Don’t you fucking tell me about my political problems, or my personal problems,” Clinton said, according to Clarke. “You tell me about national security. Is it the right thing to do?” Clarke thought it was. “Then fucking do it,” Clinton told him."

Sounds great, except that old story that, on another occasion, a hapless Sandy Berger couldn't find POTUS for over an hour when UBL was in the gunsights.

Posted by Gregory at August 3, 2003 10:29 PM
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