Over the past several years, numerous statement made by President Bush and his administration have proven to be false, including statements about WMD, the Iraq war, the events preceding 9/11 and issues like torture and domestic spying. We can now add another one to the list – the failure to capture Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora in 2001.
During last year’s presidential campaign, President Bush and John Kerry argued over whether Osama bin Laden had escaped from Tora Bora in the final days of the war in Afghanistan. Kerry charged that Bush let bin Laden get away by not choosing to “use American forces to hunt down and kill” him. Bush asserted that U.S. commanders on the ground did not know if bin Laden was at the mountain hideaway along the Afghan border.
Now we have the CIA commander on the ground telling his side of the story in a new book to be released. Newsweek breaks the story:
But in a forthcoming 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. “He was there,” Berntsen tells NEWSWEEK. Asked to comment on Berntsen’s remarks, National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones passed on 2004 statements from former CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks. “We don’t know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora in December 2001,” Franks wrote in an Oct. 19 New York Times op-ed. “Bin Laden was never within our grasp.” Berntsen says Franks is “a great American. But he was not on the ground out there. I was.”
I just saw Bernsten interviewed on MSNBC. The man is very credible. Again, we have incompetence from the Bush administration, and then they try to cover it up by denying the truth. Pathetic.