reports new CIA-Bin Laden details
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
PARIS, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Radio France
International offered additional details Thursday of allegations
that terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden met with a CIA officer in the
United Arab Emirates in July.
The CIA has dismissed as "total absurdity" a report carried
Wednesday by Radio France and by France's Le Figaro newspaper,
alleging that a CIA agent met with bin Laden at a Dubai clinic,
where the suspected terrorist was reportedly treated for kidney
The clinic, said to be
the American Hospital in Dubai, also denied bin Laden had been a
patient. The American Embassy in Paris has not commented on the
International Herald Tribune suggested the erroneous information may
have been leaked by opponents in France to the U.S. military
campaign in Afghanistan.
"Disinformation may have been planted ... to suggest a continuing
covert linkage between the CIA and bin Laden," a French intelligence
source told the Herald Tribune.
Nonetheless, Radio France International, for one, said it stood by
its report. In a follow-up Thursday, the French radio station
identified the alleged CIA agent as Larry Mitchell, "a connoisseur
of the Arab world and specialist of the (Arab)
card identified him as a "consular agent," the radio said. In fact,
RFI alleged, he was a CIA agent and a prominent fixture in Dubai's
expatriate community. According to both the radio and Le Figaro,
Mitchell was recalled to the CIA's headquarters in McLean, Va., on
The radio also gave the
precise date of Mitchell's supposed encounter with bin Laden -- July
12, two days before the Saudi dissident reportedly checked out of
Neither the Figaro,
nor Radio France offered independent confirmation of the report. The
radio station also cited no source for its latest allegations.
Earlier, the Figaro said its story was leaked by a partner of the
interview published Thursday in Le Figaro, Arab specialist Antoine
Sfeir said he was not surprised on the alleged CIA-bin Laden
"Bin Laden maintained
contacts with bin Laden until 1998," Sfeir said. "Those contacts
didn't end after bin Laden moved to Afghanistan. Until the last
minute, CIA agents hoped bin Laden would return to U.S. command, as
was the case before 1998."
also maintained the information about the CIA-bin Laden connection
had been in circulation for the past 15 days.
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