Wednesday, September 15, 2004

So what is a "key priority"?

Misleader reports that although the Bush administration promised to make the hunt for al Qaeda "a key priority, obviously, for me and my administration," saying "[We] do everything we can to chase [al Qaeda] down and bring them to justice," they have done anything but that. They explain:

The New York Times reports "Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency has fewer experienced case officers assigned to its headquarters unit dealing with Osama bin Laden than it did at the time of the attacks." The bin Laden unit is "stretched so thin that it relies on inexperienced officers rotated in and out every 60 to 90 days, and they leave before they know enough to be able to perform any meaningful work."[2]

The revelation comes months after the Associated Press reported the Bush Treasury Department "has assigned five times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden's" financial infrastructure.[3] It also comes after USA Today reported that the President shifted "resources from the bin Laden hunt to the war in Iraq" in 2002. Specifically, Bush moved special forces tracking al Qaeda out of Afghanistan and into Iraq war preparations. He also left the CIA "stretched badly in its capacity to collect, translate and analyze information coming from Afghanistan."[4] That has allowed these terrorists to regroup: according to the senior intelligence officials in July of this year, bin Laden and other top al Qaeda leaders are now directing a plot "to carry out a large-scale terror attack against the United States" and are overseeing the plan "from their remote hideouts somewhere along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."[5]

Misleader gives sources for these claims on their site.

The baggy language of the War on Terror has allowed this kind of disparity between assertion and action. Meanwhile, the US-led occupation of Iraq has allowed al Qaeda to use that nation as a prime recruiting spot.

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