November 29th, 2009
10:25 AM ET
8 years ago

Report: 'Bin Laden was within our grasp'

Washington (CNN) - President Obama got some political cover Sunday for his upcoming announcement on sending more troops to Afghanistan.

A report released by the Democratic staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee blamed the Bush administration for failing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden when the al Qaeda leader was cornered in Afghanistan's Tora Bora mountain region in December 2001.

Bin Laden had written his will, apparently sensing he was trapped, but the lack of sufficient forces to close in for the kill allowed him to escape to tribal areas in Pakistan, according to the report.

It said former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and top U.S. commander Gen. Tommy Franks held back the necessary forces for a "classic sweep-and-block maneuver" that could have prevented bin Laden's escape.

Full story

Filed under: Afghanistan • Popular Posts
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Lynne

    When is Senator McCain going to reveal where bin Laden is as he promised throughout the camapign?? Maybe Palin will be allowed to reveal it for him on her Facebook page!

    November 29, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. CNN! The worthless name in news

    Here we go again. Blame Bush. Funny that CNN failed to mention that Clinton had an opportunity to take Laden out but refused.

    We still have threats all around, FT Hood for example. Does no one get this yet?

    November 29, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. D. Tree

    But we all know that Bush and Cheney only cared about invading Iraq, and could care less about bringing Bin Laden to justice "dead or alive."

    November 29, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. SOL

    Reformed Repub – I called Bush a war criminal and called Cheney a mob boss.

    I am for throwing the liberal democrats and the right wing republicans out of office. Both of these groups have demonstrated their ineptness during 3 out 4 of the past/current presidents, I'll give Bill Clinton a winning vote. Congress is worst, for them is has been nothing but partisan politics with this latest group being the worst in our nation's history.

    I never had to reform, because I refuse to give mindless loyality to one party over another. Independent minded voters are neither uninformed or uninvolved, we just choose to make up our own minds without letting some party boss telling us what to think. That's why we read CNN, Fox, MSNBS and nearly every other source of media, glean from it what we can and then make our own decisions.

    Reformed Repub, if you want to make a change in America, stop drinking the party koolaid. There is no real difference between the Republicans and the Deomcrats, its just that they try to control the vote by marketing to different special interest groups. Same poison in the koolaid, just different flavors.

    November 29, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. A Proud Independent

    Funny, when I read The Ticker, I see lots of GOPers whining how they are sick of everyone stating "It was Bush's fault" when speaking ill of the Obama administration. Yet when the topic of Bin Laden comes up, I suddenly hear from these same GOPers that "it was Clinton's fault". Republican – thy name is hypocrisy.

    November 29, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    The money wasted on the Bush wars could have funded health care reform, over a Trillion dollars! It is a shame that Republicans are trying to rewrite history by placing the blame on Obama. Did Bush allow Osama Bin Laden escape because he needed a continuous terrorist threat as justification to invade Iraq? Was this a plan perpetrated by the American conservative terrorist organization, Project for a New American Century?

    November 29, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Former Army

    A report released by the DEMOCRATIC staff: SAYS IT ALL.

    November 29, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. thersa

    Proving Bush lied in his presidential debate with Kerry.

    November 29, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. KC

    Bush Administration intetionally left Bin Laden so to fulfill other selfish interior motive of invading Aghanistan... What stopped them from Killing Bin laden then? Maybe Bush and Bin Laden had something in common. Who dithered now? Republicans or President Obama?

    November 29, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Ken in NC

    Why would the Bush / Cehney Administration want to capture BinLaden? He was the basis for their was in Iraq. To have captured or killed him would have removed all reason to go to war or to remain at war. The objective all along was to get Saddam. That is all Bush ever wanted. He wanted him more than he wanted Bin Laden.

    November 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. not alone

    Another failed Bush war project, seems to be a true and tried family history of not getting the job right the first time.

    November 29, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Impromptu

    They should have sent the VIP glam gate crashers and the job would have been done. This is the difference between Bin Laden's security and President Obama's. WH Security with one war is a huge issue. What might happen with two? Just asking...

    November 29, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. strong

    I am starting to think that Osama was a fictional character in this "war on terror."

    The truth please!

    November 29, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. Mike in Texas

    Instead of talking about should of, would of, could of, let's talk about what we will do going forward. Too many of us like to play the blame game instead of focusing our thoughts and resources on going forward.

    You can't change the past so why not try to make the present and future better.

    November 29, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    "We're tired of the finger pointing, get something done or get going"

    This was a CON post?? The party of NO has not contributed ONE, not ONE constructive issue in 11 months. All you have done is complain and bash President Obama for not cleaning up an economic dung heap, 8 years in the making, in 11 months. Just keep drinking the Greedy Old People's prune juice and continue to be a lush lemming.

    Now that it has been shown that Rumsfeld and Franks missed a chance to get bin Laden in 2001, guess that is why McCain said in the campaign he knew where bin Laden was. Too bad the republiklans missed THEIR chance to catch him like they all like to blame Clinton. That whole "he kept us safe for 7 years" mantra is now off the table.

    The only thing transparent about you republiklans, is your lies and hypocrisy!

    And still this great country awaits your apology!

    November 29, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. b franklin

    MOnday morning Quarter-backing is always easier. The timing of this 'OLD" news is an attempt to pile on more blame on the Bush Admin and take pressure off of the Obama administration. IN all actuality what has Obama done differently than Bush in regards to tehese wars. Everyone said that the Iraq war was unwinnable, but you don't here much about that situation any longer, because a Bush policy cleaned it up. This story is about Bush not provisding the troops needed to get teh job done right, has Obama stalled enough on adding troops?

    November 29, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Marry

    GOP/Bush/Cheney dithering around in Afghanistan for many years and accomplishing nothing – and now they want to give advice? They are scum! The President will come up with a comprehensive plan to have a positive impact – for the people there, for the people here! Why? Because he is very smart and of good will and war profiteering is not on his agenda!

    November 29, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. ib

    Funny how the libs forget how Clinton didn't act but poor old Bush sure catches you know what.

    November 29, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. Chris

    It's hilarous hearing Right Wingers saying the Left should stop pointing fingers and quit "playing the blame game'. That's all the Right ever does is point fingers! Everytime there is a problem, they are the first ones to say its Obama and the Democrats' fault. They still gripe about President Carter, even though he's been out of office for three decades!

    My favorite "blame game" by the Right was when Rush Limbaugh said that the reason Mark Sanford left both his family and his state to see his mistress was because the Governor was upset about Obama's stimulus plan and needed comforting. See, its all Obama's fault. The Governor was just another innocent Republican victim of the Liberals' malfeasance.

    November 29, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Dixon

    Hey Nurse: Read the note by Jane I was referencing. I know it takes years and that is why Bush will be responsible for his mess for a long time. Remeber when Regan fired all the Air Traffic controllers? That was in the early 80's. We are still struggling with the same problems those fired Controllers were trying to fix. Carter, Regan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2 own some of this. Obama will own his share too.

    November 29, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. B

    Bush BLEW his chance to get him and Obama has to pay for it now!

    The damage Bush did to this country and others is unmeasurable !

    November 29, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. WeThePeopleofVirginia

    Alright already . . . most people understand we missed an opportunity early on in the fighting to kill Bin-Laden. Hindsight is 20/20 . . . but what good is there in beating a dead horse . . . to simply access BLAME.

    This report is simply political posturing by John Kerry for a 2012 Presidential run. I’ll wager it does not weigh all the circumstances and conventional thinking at the time.

    Considering . . . the US had just ANNULATED the Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces with a small contingency of US Special Forces, CIA Operatives and an aerial “Shock and Awe” assault. We were monitoring their communications while on the run and heard Bin-Laden apologizing to his followers for their demise. Over our objections, the Afghan’s agreed to a cease fire which ultimately allowed Bin-Laden and his immediate command time to slip through our grips.

    Our mistake all along has been in trusting the Afghan’s in thinking we were acting in their best interest when in fact we should have been acting in ours. But then again, I wonder how many times Roosevelt and his Generals missed killing Hitler, Mussolini and/or Emperor Hirohito during WWII.

    Bottom-line . . . costly mistakes are made in a time of war. I also have NO DOUBTS, had the Bush Administration and/or Generals known what we know today, they would NOT have hesitated in executing greater force.

    November 29, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Jack

    This report says it all – the republicans were busy chasing oil profits in Iraq when our real enemies were slinking out of harms way to Pakistan .

    November 29, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. HUGO

    Where is the information regarding how Washington would not allow deployment of mines on the back slope door to Tora Bora? We would have had them if they had been allowed to close the back door on him...Who made those decisions and why? My guess is if we had killed him early on, then it would have been game over and we could have left Iraq and Afghanistan without any excuse for sending more of our men to die? Contrary to Washington's belief, not all of America's voting public fall into their standard category of illiterate sheep.

    November 29, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Jack

    Re: independent Jim – The US had enough troops to contain Bin Laden – 300 or so special forces?

    November 29, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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