C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden
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 official administration spin is that it doesn't mean anything:
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."
What does the guy who knows most about it have to say?
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."
So why are they really doing this?
In recent years, the war in Iraq has stretched the resources of the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, generating new priorities for American officials.
That's right, the War in Iraq is making it impossible to fight the people who really attacked the United States.
Is George Bush really so stunningly incompetent, or doesn't he want to catch the people who attacked us on September 11th?
That's the real question about almost all of the administration's policies. Stupidity and incompetence, or deliberate sabotage of the United States? Was the Hurricane Katrina response just an incredible foulup, or deliberate ethnic cleansing? The list goes on and on and on and on and . . . .