CIA’s Bin Laden Hunter Ordered to Stand Down 10 Times
Michael Scheuer, the former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA’s) Osama bin Laden unit, told the U.K. Daily Telegraph in a recent interview he was prevented from capturing or killing the terrorist by his superiors on at least 10 separate occasions. The 22-year CIA veteran-turned-whistle=blower resigned from the agency in 2004, disgusted by the government’s lies surrounding the terror war. And he’s been embarrassing the U.S. establishment ever since.
In 1995, Scheuer was selected to lead the spy agency’s bin Laden efforts. By then the militant Islamist was exiled in Sudan after angering Saudi authorities. Bin Laden was running several businesses in the African nation that Scheuer suggested disrupting. “We formulated operations and submitted them for approval but they would not approve any of them,” the ex-CIA official told the Daily Telegraph. “If we had been able to deal a serious economic blow it could have been a show-stopper.”
The next year, bin Laden declared war on the American government. And in 1997, when bin Laden was again living in Afghanistan, Scheuer said his team groomed a band of Afghans to capture the suspected terror boss. There were at least two “clear opportunities” to bring down bin Laden by the middle of 1998, according to Scheuer. But in both cases, he said, CIA bosses refused to proceed.
Then, in August of that year, bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network bombed two American embassies in Africa. Bin Laden said the embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, was targeted for serving as a U.S. intelligence hub for the CIA. The attacks killed numerous U.S. diplomats and at least two CIA agents, according to the Associated Press.
Scheuer told the Telegraph that following the missed opportunities to kill or capture bin Laden in 1998, there were at least eight other chances to get the terror mastermind. By that point, bin Laden was supposedly among the U.S. government’s most wanted criminals. But for some unknown reason, senior officials refused to authorize his capture or assassination.
“One 50-cent round could have put us all out of our agony,” Scheuer explained. But that didn’t happen, as high-level authorities consistently ordered the CIA unit not to stop bin Laden.
In 1999, Scheuer told the paper that he sent an angry letter to higher-ups demanding to know why his men were risking their lives for somebody the U.S. government did not seem to want stopped. “I don’t know what you are doing when you talk to the President but he will not get a better opportunity than this,” Scheuer explained to his superiors.
Eventually, the bin Laden-unit chief, Scheuer, was dismissed from his position before being reinstated after the September 11 attacks. A few months after that, the U.S. government and its allies had bin Laden surrounded in the mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan. But yet again, high-level officials let him escape.