CIA: Bin Laden Not a Factor in Al Qaeda, But We’d Still Like to Kill Him

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


74074313_3f539a2cc1.jpg

CIA Director Michael Hayden, speaking last night at an event organized by the Atlantic Council, said that Osama Bin Laden is increasingly “isolated” and on the run. “He’s putting a lot of energy into his own survival, a lot of energy into his own security,” said Hayden. “In fact, he appears to be largely isolated from the day-to-day operations of the organization he nominally leads.” All that said, he’s still an attractive target, largely for the propaganda value of putting him out of business. “Because of his iconic stature, his death or capture clealry would have a significant impact on the confidence of his followers, both core Al Qaeda and these unaffiliated extremists,” Hayden continued. “I can assure you, although there has been press speculation to the contrary, I can assure you that the hunt for Bin Laden is very much at the top of the CIA’s priority list.”

It’s also at the top of the incoming Obama administration’s list. The president-elect believes that his predecessor has not done enough to capture or kill the Al Qaeda leader. But turning things around will not be easy. As former CIA Pakistan station chief Robert Grenier told CNN, “If you think of this as sort of a combination of [the hunt for] Eric Rudolph, who was the Olympic bomber, and the movie ‘Deliverance,’ multiplied by a factor of 10, that’s really what you’re focusing on in trying to find bin Laden… What you literally need to have is an army of individual informants, hopefully focused on the areas that you think bin Laden is most likely to be hiding in. But again, you need to have a whole lot of them, because one individual who may have access to the families and the clans in a particular valley, if he goes to the valley next door and starts asking questions, he’s probably gonna end up dead pretty quickly.”


Photo by flickr user Toots Fontaine used under a Creative Commons license.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate