Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Has U.S. intelligence lost track of Osama bin Laden?

December 7, 2009 |  8:38 am

Al Qaeda Leader Osama bin Laden

National Security Advisor Gen. James L. Jones suggested Sunday that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who has eluded capture by U.S. forces since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks he orchestrated, may periodically slip into Afghanistan from his remote cave in the mountains of Pakistan.

But Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the truth was that the United States hasn't had good intelligence on Bin Laden's whereabouts in a long time. "I think it has been years," he said.

"Well, we don't know for a fact where Osama bin Laden is," Gates said on ABC's "This Week."  "If we did, we'd go get him."

Last week a Taliban suspect in Pakistan claimed Bin Laden had been in Afghanistan earlier this year, but Gates said the best estimate is that Bin Laden is in the rugged, lawless region of North Waziristan, along the border between the two countries.

Either way, as Jones said on CNN's "State of the Union," "We're going to have to get after that to make sure that [Bin Laden]... is either, once again, on the run or captured or killed."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo credit: Getty Images

Click here to receive Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item every day. Or follow us @latimestot. We're also over here on Facebook. And our Facebook fan page is here.