Monday, February 23, 2004

Fascinating report on the CIA's efforts to nail Osama...

A Secret Hunt Unravels in Afghanistan (

The Washington Post has a fascinating series of articles on the secret war between an obscure sub-group of the CIA and al-Qa'ida before the 11th September attacks, when counter-terrorism wasn't fashionable. "The rest of the CIA and the intelligence community looked on our efforts as eccentric and at times fanatic," recalled a former chief of the bin Laden unit. "It was a cult," agreed a U.S. official who dealt with them. "Jonestown," said another person involved, asked to sum up the unit's atmosphere. "I outlawed Kool-Aid."

Wasn't that clever? Not, of course, that it did any good, but with that kind of support from above they didn't have that much chance. Some of their schemes were a little wild, too, like the one involving imprisoning him in a cave, or sending a party of Ahmed Shah Massoud's army on mules to plaster his camp with katyushas. I suppose they were probably seen as cowboys attached to The Company's heroic myth of the Afghan wars, years after the medals had been handed out and everyone had gone home.

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