Bin Laden Was Present in Tora Bora Late Last Year
You read this first in debkafile five months ago
17 April, 2002
The Bush administration has now concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year, according to the Washington Post. The failure to commit US ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda. Intelligence officials have assembled decisive evidence that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex, and slipped away in the first ten days of December.
The Bush administration has never acknowledged that bin Laden slipped through the cordon ostensibly placed around Tora Bora as US aircraft began bombing on November 30.
Some excerpts from debkafile ‘s Exclusive Intelligence Report of December 8:
Osama bin Laden has packed his entire family out of Afghanistan – wives, sons and daughters and their wives, husbands and offspring.
Until Tuesday, November 27, the bin Laden family were still together in Afghanistan. US reconnaissance photos taken in the Tora Bora mountain cave area gave rise to the US intelligence assumption that the Saudi-born terrorist was holed up there.
Bin Laden’s move has more than one key implication for the ongoing war against terror:
1. US and British intelligence and special forces, though present on the ground, came short of thwarting the crossing of the large bin Laden clan into Pakistan, although its capture would have been the biggest psychological coup of the war and a priceless intelligence resource.
2. Bin Laden’s motives. The obvious one was that American military pressure has got him cornered and he wanted his family out of harm’s way.
Todaydebkafile adds 3. A comparison of the dates appearing in the Washington Post April 17 and debkafile December 8 reports opens up a new question:
Was this a coincidence? Or did Bin Laden know the US air force was about to bomb Tora Bora on November 30 – in time to get his family out of danger?