Kerry Was Right — CIA Commander: We Let bin Laden Slip Away

A Newsweek exclusive gives us yet another instance of “Kerry Was Right.” In an new book by Gary Berntsen, a CIA field commander for the agency’s Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Berntsen discloses that the CIA did know where bin Laden was. Contrary to the Bush administration’s assertions that they did not, Kerry the “worst-kind of Monday-morning quarterback” as Bush called him, obviously knew the plays better than Bush

During the 2004 presidential campaign, George W. Bush and John Kerry battled about whether Osama bin Laden had escaped from Tora Bora in the final days of the war in Afghanistan. Bush, Kerry charged, “didn’t choose to use American forces to hunt down and kill” the leader of Al Qaeda. The president called his opponent’s allegation “the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking.” Bush asserted that U.S. commanders on the ground did not know if bin Laden was at the mountain hideaway along the Afghan border.

But in a forthcoming book, the CIA field commander for the agency’s Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders did know that bin Laden was among the hundreds of fleeing Qaeda and Taliban members. Berntsen says he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora—intelligence operatives had tracked him—and could have been caught. “He was there,” Berntsen tells NEWSWEEK.

Berntsen’s book “backs up other recent accounts, including that of military author Sean Naylor, who calls Tora Bora a “strategic disaster” because the Pentagon refused to deploy a cordon of conventional forces to cut off escaping Qaeda and Taliban members.”

Maj. Todd Vician, a Defense Department spokesman, says the problem at Tora Bora “was not necessarily just the number of troops.”

Berntsen’s book gives, by contrast, a heroic portrayal of CIA activities at Tora Bora and in the war on terror.

Bookmark and Share

Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Kerry Was Right — CIA Commander: We Let bin Laden Slip Away

  1. Yes, John Kerry proven correct again, of course! So far the score for Kerry in all election statements and policy vs Bush/Rove’s BS, denials, spin and lies has been Kerry 100% vs Bush 0%.

    ~begin rant~
    When, if ever, will most American’s get tired of being played by the GOP. Who for the last 15 years have based all of their campaigns completely on the knowledge that the average America is either stupid and/or clueless, since most don’t really pay attention to reality and just go with the right-wing BS/lies or MSM’s “conventional wisdom”, which is solely based on the media’s acceptance of the right-wing echo chamber repetitions of lies/smears/spin. The GOP credo: repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth. They perfected it during the 90’s and it still works like a charm, since they know we have little non right-wing biased or even minimally competent MSM left in this country!

    I’ve gotten so sick of stupid people allowing my country to be destroyed by obvious, blatant, BS and lies. I wouldn’t care a bit if they just ended up suffering personally for it. That would actually make me happy and it might someday even cause them to finally get a clue. However, they are screwing it up for my country’s future, my kid’s future and many other good people’s futures, that is when their stupidity crosses the line.

    ~rant over~

  2. Dave

    I think I need to start a Kerry Was Right category!

    Rant on my friend… why people couldn’t see this a year ago is beyond me!

  3. Pamela, it would really be great to keep a list of the all the things that Kerry said( and was attacked for during the election by the GOP and MSM), that in fact he has proven to have been completely correct on.

    It will end up being a long list. Well it already is…

  4. Ginny in Co says:

    Pam, “Kerry was Right ” EXCELLENT I can post it at work in the break room where I had the Kerry notebooks last fall. Oh, see the idea below @ +

    Dave, the stupidity thing goes back much farther than 15 years. I think it grew out of the colonial determination to have leaders from the “common” class. Democratic critics (in and out of the party) are big on the idea that we have candidates who talk too much and too intelligently for voters to understand them. Like we’re voting for Homecoming King?

    I want to ask the people who look for a candidate they can “relate to”, “have a beer with”, etc*
    Do you personally know anyone smart enough to be President of the US? Are you comfortable with them or do they make you realize some people are a WHOLE LOT SMARTER than you? How do you think you would feel if you actually met POTUS in person ? A little Pepto maybe?

    When you meet good candidates, what you almost always find out is, they’re just people!! Smart, yes, often very funny, with a huge knowledge base and a mind that can look at a problem from every perspective.

    I have been “Interpreting” for doctors for years (I’m sure Ron doesn’t need this:) when teaching patients of all IQ levels, learning disabilities, and barriers to learning. We can do it, we ARE
    the EDUCATION party.

    The noise machine – what this blog is about – is so loud nobody can think. When I put together the notebooks on Kerry’s record, positions, & endorsements; the part that kept on amazing me were the endorsements based on HOW BAD Bush was doing. This contributed to the ABB appearance of the Kerry campaign. I still wonder why, to the best of my knowledege,
    no newspaper collected all the different groups that formed to speak out against Bush and how
    unprecedented it was in one article – which would have taken a whole page, State Department, Military, CIA, Nobel Laureates, scientists, university professors, etc etc etc. The majority of the (“Liberal Media”?) newspapers endorsed the Democratic Candidate for only the SECOND time since the statistics were started (’44?). The first was ’92.

    +Pamela, maybe in addition to the “Kerry was Right” info, you could add any groups or individuals that spoke up to support him or whose comments supported his. It could add to getting some independent/swing voters to realize they have to put some effort into evaluating candidates.

    Which brings me to Clinton’s comment that campaigning is one long job interview with the
    American Public. It fits my concept of changing the way campaigns are run. First, we need Job Descriptions, Then the candidates need to approach it as a job interview. You can give intelligent answers without going into detail. What are the mission, purpose, goal of the job and the employer? Why not have a detailed resume?

    I have to get back to “Wise Ass”. Glad you like the title Pam

    * One of the most mind boggling comments I heard about Dukakis was “He’s not the sort of guy who would end up with a lampshade on his head at the end of a party”
    No shit, Sherlock. Your Point?

  5. Paul says:

    Re: Dave from Princeton

    “When, if ever, will most American’s get tired of being played by the GOP, who for the last 15 years have based all of their campaigns completely on the knowledge that the average America is either stupid and/or clueless, since most don’t really pay attention to reality and just go with the right-wing BS/lies or MSM’s “conventional wisdom”, which is solely based on the media’s acceptance of the right-wing echo chamber repetitions of lies/smears/spin….”

    In answer to when, I think never. The propaganda, lies and BS have been very carefully crafted. It’s more insidious than it appears on the surface. If you look at what they’re selling, every aspect of it is permeated – to some degree or another – with shameful messages: bigotry, racism, greed, selfishness and self-abosrbtion, avarice, willful ignorance, hate in the name of Jesus, and so-on. It is presented in such a way as to have the veneer of righteousness, respectibility, spiritual sacntity, principled morality, wisdom and and intelligent probity. Shame in the clothing of virtue is both the pretense and the means.

    It appears to me that what they are really doing is giving folks who have that predilection permission to indulge their basest instincts. By serving as public models of “success” while holding to and supporting those same instincts, they are validating the above-mentioned ugly behaviors, beliefs and thinking for all those who would otherwise appear to be asleep on their couches of apathy. “Bush is a lying, greedy, cynical predator – must be OK for me, too.” These plitician’s are allowing people to embrace what they know to be wrong, and still look in the mirror and say:”yeah, I’m still a good person”.

    I’ve seen this in many who are dear to me and who I’ve also known all my life. One is a racist, another lost in selfish greed, another a bigot, yet another feels nothing wrong with having one set of ethics while at work and another for being at home with the family. I know that each of them was raised instructed with instructions in true principled ideals. I remember the time when they would have been castigated for any displays of behavior that thay have embraced. Over the last several years all of them have changed.

    Here’s the interesting thing. They are all ardent Bush supporters, yet none of them can list any of the issues. They all hated Kerry, but were unaware of wh they did. When questioned about Bush, Incorporated, their reasons are ” He’ll get rid of Equal Opportunity”, “He’s waging a new crusade”, “I’ll get a tax cut” (already wealthy with complete freedom from need) – it was an endless litany of ugly and shabby thinking. Profound intellectual dishonesty in people who are to a person extremely intellegent people. To a person gently and politely challenged in such a way as might induce any degree of internal reflection or honest self-assessment, they all responded as if their lives where threatened. It was a purely emotional response which I believe was the intended response of those who are doing the manipulating.

    What the Republicans are offering people are the paths of least moral and least intellectual effort and resistance. They are offering up the sugar plum of freedom from consequence. They are validating the ugly that resides within all of us, that which only awaits our capitulation to it. They are offering a permanent vacation from adulthood. All of it offers a kind of comfort to those who embrace it.

    It takes effort, sacrifice, constant vigilance and often pain to live a life that is congruent with spiritual, moral and ethical principles. The Republican strategy masters are succeeding because they are offering a get out of jail free card from that burden. It only sweetens the prize when the winner is also allowed to think they they are doing the exact opposite – kind ensure that no honest self-examination takes place.

    It goes without saying that this is a suicidal path, individually and for the life of the Nation. The loyal opposition can either choose to also get into the business of selling tickets on that ride, or they can figure out how to make taking the high road an inspiring and rewarding exercise for those whose votes they want. If bringing out the worst in people and convincing them that it is really their best is the true problem, a way needs to be found that genuinely brings out people’s best instincts in a way that doesn’t pander or patronize or insult. I saw that in Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Gandhi and even in Clinton. It can be done.

    My one complaint about Kerry is that he was too much of a gentleman when Bush said he was a worst-kind-Monday-morning-quaterback. For most of these ugly traits that I’ve mentioned, the only way to peirce the pretense is to immediately “name the game”. Kerry should have siad something to the effect:”You just lied to me. You just lied to the nation. You know you just told us but another ugly and mean-spirited lie. My question to you is: why did you just lie to us?” For my self, I’ve found that this is the only effective way to deal with persons who look upon other people’s good and honorable nature as something to be preyed upon and manipulated.

    The point of this whole epistle is that a problem can’t be solved or countered until it is seen for what it is. It took me a while to catch on, but suspect that I may be seeing things correctly. Possibly. If so, I would think that the Democrats have some thinking they urgently need to do.

    Just my thoughts.

    Full disclosure: I’m pretty much apolitical and don’t really believe in my guts that politics offers any solutions to any of the problems that we face. I limit myself to voting my conscience.

  6. Paul says:

    PS

    Should have spent some time editing my response to Dave in Princeton before submitting my . Sorry.

    Also, would appreciate feedback. Not sure if I’m on to something or not. Thanks

  7. Indie Liberal says:

    My one complaint about Kerry is that he was too much of a gentleman when Bush said he was a worst-kind-Monday-morning-quaterback. For most of these ugly traits that I’ve mentioned, the only way to peirce the pretense is to immediately “name the game”. Kerry should have siad something to the effect:”You just lied to me. You just lied to the nation. You know you just told us but another ugly and mean-spirited lie. My question to you is: why did you just lie to us?” For my self, I’ve found that this is the only effective way to deal with persons who look upon other people’s good and honorable nature as something to be preyed upon and manipulated.

    That’s why the campaingn should have let Kerry be himself. He is better that way. Proof positive since the election ended.

  8. Jackob's Ladder says:

    testing

  9. Jackob's Ladder says:

    testing

  10. Jackob's Ladder says:

    testing

  11. Jackob's Ladder says:

    testing

  12. Jackob's Ladder says:

    testing

  13. Jackob's Ladder says:

    testing

  14. Jackob's Ladder says:

    testing

  15. Jackob's Ladder says:

    testing

  16. NativeTexan4Kerry says:

    Paul Says:

    August 7th, 2005 at 1:34 pm

    “…figure out how to make taking the high road an inspiring and rewarding exercise for those whose votes they want. …a way needs to be found that genuinely brings out people’s best instincts in a way that doesn’t pander or patronize or insult. I saw that in Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Gandhi and even in Clinton. It can be done.”

    I agree with this exactly.

  17. marco says:

    Has Kerry been wrong yet?

  18. marco says:

    Incidentally, does anybody think Bush had any intention of “capturing” bin Laden?

    And what exactly would he do if he had, besides giving him a big ol’ sloppy Saudi liplock?

  19. Ginny in CO says:

    Paul,

    You have just proved that you are NOT apolitical, that you DO think government can solve some of our problems and you DON’T limit yourself to voting.

    BRAVO!!!!!

    I am in the process of taking 45 years of watching politics and government and 17 years of active participation as a Democrat tocollect all the ideas that have been simmering, adding as many new ones as I can and distilling it all into something that might contribute to the understanding and changing this situation.

    Your insights are excellent and add a very good analysis of your own experience with the GOP voters. There are the ideas already mentioned and what I see as a unique addition to Lakoff’s framing theory. The GOP message isn’t to the adults – it is to the naughty “inner child”. Who doesn’t want to share or be responsible. Validating the idea that they can get away with the behavior without consequences. The child who can’t see the difference between reality and fantasy. Who can be so frightened for their lives they don’t realize the monsters are make believe.

    Yup, I think you add a very interesting piece to this puzzle we are all trying to put together.
    Now that you’re out from under the bushel, don’t hide the light of your ideas. Editing is good, takes time, adds to the illumination 🙂

    Thanks for taking the time to get it all written. Long is not necessarily a problem when you have something to say.

    Ginny

  20. Ginny in CO says:

    Marco,

    TOO Funny LOL

    And how true, capturing Bin Laden would have negated the need to invade Iraq….

    JK is human, he has to have been wrong sometime….

  21. Ginny in CO says:

    On a different aspect.

    How is this going to affect the Iraq vets, especially the disabled and the families of the victims?

    Not to mention Iraq.

    George deceived, and methinks we have more than a tangled web.

  22. farang says:

    I wonder, remember all those murder/suicides of soldiers at Ft. Bragg after the invasion of Afghanistan ( I know, it is hard to separate the two invasions, they did that very well), well, I heard that these were the special forces that had bin-Laden surrounded, then were forced to watch a Soviet made helicopter fly in, and fly out, of Tora Bora, and they were told to hold fire.

    My Monday (here, it is Monday) morning tin foil hat exercise.

    Wonder how many times I have to be proven correct before I am allowed to remove it?

    bin-Laden was not to be attacked: he IS CIA.

  23. Paul Says:

    August 7th, 2005 at 1:34 pm

    Paul

    Well put! Nothing apolitical about what you said here. You’re definately on to something, you’re on the money actually. The GOP has played into the basics of psychology in many ways and they have people snookered.

    Good to have you here… keep coming back!

  24. Ginny

    Just got in from a long day with family. Good idea to start compiling this stuff, because much of it is gone now from JK.com and we’ll need it one day. So we’ll start a collection here.

  25. Ginny in Co says:

    Farang,

    Interesting connection on the suicides. I’ve had a few ” tin foil” ideas too- one inspired by Paul (above) that I am contemplating. Bin Laden wouldn’t have to be CIA to get the chopper clearance. If Bush didn’t WANT him – because it would kill his plans for Iraq- then he would have made sure he got out. If anything, that was really clumsy – too many witnesses.
    We are all infected with “Never misunderestimate” how far they will go with incredible arrogance.

    Pamela,

    I have all that stuff in documents. I don’t think I’m missing any of them since putting Tiger in the Mac. (I did have all my bookmarks, then they disappeared, along with a back up file, sigh), Off the top of my head, it’s going to be 10 pages at least.

    I can also check the notebook to be sure I didn’t print something and not save it.

    Tiger has a feature I really can use; it audibly reminds of the time every hour…
    Back to the other stuff.

  26. Ginny

    There is a feature on the blog that we can creat a collection of pages and link them, or if you can PDF, we can upload them to server. I can also take the stuff and create webpages that can link from the homepage, a Kerry subdomain where we can organize everything.

  27. SIN SIN SIN SIN SIN SIN SIN !
    Seven deadly sins from a party who panders to the religious right and nobody seems to recognize the sin. GREED you want a tax break, you got it, but the price of gas may double. GLUTTONY our thirst for oil has removed our ability to evaluate the morality of our position. ENVY we think we own the oil in other countrys because we built their oil fields. Our military resembles, more a collection agency for corporate america,than a defense department. Our state department has installed right wing dictators by removing freely elected governments. VANITY cant let anyone think we’ve made a mistake. SLOTH rather than commit time and money to the problem of unwanted pregnancy they would rather outlaw a medical procedure that would save the life of the woman. This is the one the religious right hinds behind. I personally do not beleive their religion is worth the life of one woman! PRIDE THE ABSOLUTE WORST. Pride kills american soilders needlessly, and innocent children in countrys were we covet their resources.

  28. Paul says:

    Thanks to everybody for your feedback.

    I really mean it about the apolitical viewpoint. I’m just trying to figure how to get through to people who are dear to me, who have turned to the dark side, so to speak. Their politics are just a symptom of what feels to me like a spiritual disease. It’s akin to watching a loved one be destroyed by alcoholism or drug abuse. They’ve been seduced. I’m just trying to make sense of things. I’ve bounced the idea off you guys just as a reality check. It feels right, but you never know. If I am right, the real question is how do I go about helping them? I don’t even know where to begin, and watching the family members and lifelong friends commit a form of intellectual and spiritual suicide hurts my heart to even think about it. I’ll figure something out.

    As for government, I don’t care what somebody’s politics are. If they speak in the language of truth and integrity and if that speaking is consistantly proven by congruent deeds, and if those deeds reflect conscience and principle, if actions demonstrate that what is done has been undertaken in the spirit of service, that person’s got my vote – irrespective of political affiliations. It is possibly only coincidence that this more often than not describes Democrats rather than Repulicans.

    I belive in statesmanship, consultation, doing whatever work you do in the spirit of service, the will to find understanding, and justice to name a few things. Politics as I’ve been a witness to it, doesn’t seem to operate that way. Maybe politics is just an issue of definiting terms.

    You’ve given me some things to think deeply on. I appreciate it. Will post when I have something to say. thanks everybody.

  29. Ginny in Co says:

    Paul,

    If you mean you are looking for a political reason that people you love are becoming, in essence, a danger to themselves; and you are searching for a way to help them from a humanitarian motive, then your attitude is apolitical. You are not trying to change them so they will vote Democratic, just to get them to use the moral compass’ you know they had.

    I think you have a lot of company. The problem of reaching some of these people is one we all know personally and it has become a huge issue in campaigning. If you have
    been following some of the strategy tactics the Dems have developed, you may be aware of George Lakoff’s “Don’t think of an elephant”. This framing concept is what I was refering to in finding the “validating the naughty child” a valuble contribution.
    We did try to reframe the dialogues and avoid trigger words. It helped, but not enough.

    There are quite a few books on some aspects of this. Starting with language and discussion, one of the most powerful is “Nonviolent Communication” Marshall Rosenberg. It will totally reinforce how the violence of the Old Testament is so
    completely woven into our language. An anecdote of my sister’s also supports it.
    During her 7 years in Tokyo, a professional Japanese couple who traveled widely and spoke several languages lived next to them. In conversations with the woman about language, she learned that the couple argue in English because Japanese doesn’t allow you to say things we do.

    There are a wide variety of books by Christians on the inconsistencies of the GOP positions and Jesus’ teachings as well as some on the how the author is working through moral conflicts. I am currently reading David Dark, a teacher at a Nashville Christian school on “The Gospel According to America” His ideas so far have been very helpful although his writing is sometimes difficult.

    I think the real issue for you and many of us is, Is there something more sinister going on? What is it and why does it only afffect some people? My suspicion is there are some aspects of cult worshiping that may be behind it and some of the techniques of treating people who have left a cult or been removed may work.

    Go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (on Line) and take a look at the scores of books on these topics. There may be some that would suit your needs.

    The politics of today are very frustrating to most of us. Politics is about governing ourselves, so it is difficult to be truly apolitical (without). The polarization is a GOP
    strategy that has been building for decades. It can only lead to more problems and fewer effective solutions.

    My reform concepts include the reality that we NEED a two party system that balances the work and the power. And the statesmen candidates we do produce have to reach an alieinated, frustrated, overwhelmed and apathetic electorate. Over the Reuplican Noise Machine.

    Think on and do come back. It helps to have a “neutral” mind in the mix.

  30. Paul says:

    Ginny,

    Resetting of the moral compass is a good way to describe it. It is as if they have gradually become estranged from themselvers and their own hearts because of the choices they made. They aren’t the people they used to be.

    I’ve thought about your additional comments and it occurs to me to wonder if this is the kind of thing that people were watching happening to their family members in Germany, around 1930’ish. Again, how much of the diseased politics were made possible because of other underlying issues and foolish choices that people made. I don’t know.

    I do know one thing about the polarization. It appears to me that the country is doing it’s best to talk itself into a civil war, if things are carried to their logical extreme. I was checking out a conservative web site the other day and saw a logo of a Democratic Donkey (or is it a mule?) and the caption was “The Enemy Within”. Is history repeating itself?

    I have my thoughts about whether something more sinister is going on. I think yes. I am coming to the belief that America no longer exists. It died in 2000, and is being replaced by a trickle down society – which is just new marketing for the ancient economic /power system otherwise known as fuedalism. The pretense of democracy and freedom is only allowed to stand in so far as it is useful for keeping all of us compliant sheep from taking to the streets. We’ll all have a role to play so long as we stay in our places and do what’s expected of us. That’s a pretty dismal assessment of things, isn’t it? I’m convinced that those family and friends I’ve mentioned haven’t a clue to the trouble their getting into. And while things are going “well”, they don’t seem to be willing to give any thought to consequences.

    Thanks for the references.

    Take care – p

  31. Paul

    A lot of people are waking up to what is happening in our country. Various things are striking chords, hitting a nerve. There’s a great disconnect here in our country right now, fueled by controled media and controling government, like we have never seen the likes of.

    Many of us struggle daily with the dilemna you have, how to reach out to those we love and get them to understand what is happening. It’s hard. I believe in many ways the reason that political blogs have become so popular is because for many people it’s a way to discuss subjects that they can not discuss with their loved ones and friends.

    For most people the my life is good attitude prevails. Sometimes you just have to let the backfires hit them in the face. Other times you can help them to see the light. Regardless, you have a sounding board here.

  32. Paul says:

    Pamela,

    You’re right, of course. They don’t seem open to reasoned argument. I won’t attempt manipulative persuasion. Light will touch them, or not, as they allow it to happen. Even knowing this, it’s not easy to watch.

    In the long run, nobody escapes the consequences of their choices and actions. I’ve been contenting myself with planting seeds that may be of help against the day that each of them comes to an individual reckoning of consequences. Sometimes, good things grow in the unlikliest of places.