DID THE U.S. DO ALL IT COULD TO CAPTURE OSAMA BIN LADEN AT TORA BORA IN 2001?

09/13/06

Our guest for this segment: In the wake of the debate over a recent ABC docudrama on the events leading up to 9/11, the question has been raised: Did the U.S. government do all it could to capture Bin Laden after 9/11. Our guest was Gary Berntsen a highly decorated CIA officer who has written a book about the effort to capture Bin Laden called JAWBREAKER. Newsweek magazine wrote of the book: "During the 2004 presidential campaign, George W. Bush and John Kerry battled about whether Osama bin Laden had escaped from Tora Bora in the final days of the war in Afghanistan. Bush, Kerry charged, "didn't choose to use American forces to hunt down and kill" the leader of Al Qaeda. The president called his opponent's allegation "the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking." Bush asserted that U.S. commanders on the ground did not know if bin Laden was at the mountain hideaway along the Afghan border.

But in (his) book, the CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders did know that bin Laden was among the hundreds of fleeing Qaeda and Taliban members. Berntsen says he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora—intelligence operatives had tracked him—and could have been caught."

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