Losing bin Laden
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post
Posted: September 6th, 2007
Despite a huge and costly effort by the media, the public still has an incomplete picture of what really happened during the [war in Afghanistan] and of how Osama bin Laden survived it. Gary Berntsen's Jawbreaker provides a valuable new account by a major participant that fills in many blanks. Berntsen was a top CIA field commander in the most critical sector of a new kind of war; at various times, the CIA veteran had elements of the Delta Force, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and tactical air units reporting to him. Crown Publishers has chosen unnecessarily to position it as a diatribe that the CIA tried to suppress. In fact, while the CIA dragged its feet in reviewing the manuscript for classified material and redacted plenty of specifics, the book is hardly an attack on the CIA. In fact, the overall picture of the CIA here is far more flattering than that in The 9/11 Commission Report. Still, to portray Jawbreaker as "the book the CIA doesn't want you to read" (as the cover puts it), the publisher has displayed the redactions throughout the book as large black lines. Contradicting Bush administration denials, Berntsen writes that his teams discovered bin Laden and the remnants of his entourage in the now famous Tora Bora Mountains along the lawless, rugged Afghan-Pakistani border. Berntsen recounts very credibly how he and others pleaded with Gen. Tommy Franks and the Pentagon brass to put in blocking forces so that bin Laden and the remnants of al Qaeda's leadership could not flee into Pakistan. But for reasons that remain unclear to Berntsen ... the Bush administration or Franks decided to depend instead on local Afghan warlords rather than put U.S. forces on the ground to block bin Laden's escape.
Note: To read a concise summary of reliable news reports that raise serious questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.