Wednesday, April 13, 2005

have bribe, will travel

remember last year when kerry would criticize bush for "outsourcing the hunt for bin laden"? turns out he was right, and that "outsourcing" is responsible for bin laden still being on the loose today.

The head of the German intelligence agency, in an interview published here Tuesday, said Osama bin Laden had been able to elude capture after the American invasion of Afghanistan by paying bribes to the Afghan militias delegated the task of finding him.

"The principal mistake was made already in 2001, when one wanted bin Laden to be apprehended by the Afghan militias in Tora Bora," the intelligence official, August Hanning, said in an interview with the German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

"There, bin Laden could buy himself free with a lot of money," Mr. Hanning said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Hanning confirmed the accuracy of the newspaper's account. She said Afghan forces had told Mr. bin Laden they knew his whereabouts and he would be arrested, but they allowed him safe passage in exchange for a bribe.

In the past, other officials - including Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the former American commander in Afghanistan - have acknowledged that Afghan militias who fought on the side of the invasion coalition had allowed leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban to get away. But Mr. Hanning is the top intelligence official to say Mr. bin Laden was among them.

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