RealNews

Averting 9/11: How close we came

Hearings show the changed context since 9/11, and the difficulties in curbing Al Qaeda. In the spring of 1998, a unit dedicated to Osama bin Laden at the CIA’s counterterrorism center hatched a plan to snatch the Al Qaeda leader, who by then had declared war on the US. The group of 17 women and 7 men who referred to themselves as “the Manson family,” according to an official familiar with the plan, meticulously surveyed – through intelligence from Afghan tribal leaders and satellite photography – the Tarnak Farm, a mud-walled complex in an isolated stretch of desert near the airport in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The plan called for a midnight raid of the compound through a drainage tunnel. An attack party of 30 fighters would emerge from the desert floor, scour the buildings for the terrorist leader who was believed to be sleeping with one of his four wives, and then spirit him away in a convoy of motorcycles. The plan, however well conceptualized, was never approved. The reason: the likelihood that innocent bystanders would be killed. Full Story

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