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Did U.S. cut deal to let bin Laden stay free?

By Doug Thompson
July 5, 2006

Abu Musab al-Zargawi’s widow says her late husband’s al-Qaida organization sold him out to the United States in exchange for an American promise to ease off on its worldwide hunt for Osama bin Laden.

On the surface, this sounds like normal terrorist propaganda in a misinformation war that the other side wages successfully.

Or is it?

We reported this yesterday:

The CIA has shut down a unit assigned to hunt down Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants.

The New York Times reports two dozen analysts in the unit were re-assigned to other counter-terrorism duties late last year.
The news comes as the widow of Iraq al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zargawi claims his own organization sold him out in exchange for a U.S. promise to ease up on the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

The woman, identified by La Repubblica as al-Zarqawi’s first wife, said al-Qaida’s top leadership reached a deal with U.S. intelligence because al-Zarqawi had become too powerful. She claimed Sunni tribes and Jordanian secret services mediated the deal.

“I think a secret pact was struck whose immediate goal was his death,” she told the newspaper. “In return, the American troops promised to ease, at least momentarily, their hunt for bin Laden.”

CIA officials said the move to shut down the bin Laden unit came amid growing concern in the agency about al-Qaida-inspired groups carrying out attacks independent of bin Laden. But officials stress that finding the elusive terror leader remains a high priority.

The recent book Ghost Wars says some in the CIA were uncomfortable with the unit, saying its zeal for capturing bin Laden took on a cult-like atmosphere.

A former senior CIA official who once headed the unit tells the Times that the move reflects the view that bin Laden is no longer the threat he once was. But he says that view is mistaken.

Besides The New York Times, some info for that story came from The Associated Press. At first glance the timing appears to be off. The CIA shut down the bin Laden unit late last year. Zargarwi’s death came last month, based on a tip from an “informant.”

But intelligence is a quid pro quo business. If you want something from the other side, you trade. Sometimes the currency is information. Sometimes it is action – or lack of action. Intelligence professionals involved in the overhyped “war on terrorism” tell me that negotiations to obtain information on Zargarwi have been ongoing since early last year and that several deals were cut.

Our inability to track down bin Laden has always been curious. Military and intel professionals publicly admit we were closing in on the what the Bush administration calls the “world’s most wanted terrorist” when those on the hunt were suddenly pulled out of the mission in Afghanistan and redeployed to Iraq. The decision to abandon the mission in Afghanistan allowed al-Qaida to rebuild and become more of a threat.

The Bush family has long had ties to the bin Laden family. Judicial Watch reported in 2002:

The former president, the father of President Bush, worked for the bin Laden family business in Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group, meeting with them at least twice. The terrorist leader Osama bin Laden had supposedly been “disowned” by his family, which runs a multi-billion dollar business in Saudi Arabia and was a major investor in the senior Bush’s firm. Other reports have stated his Saudi family have not truly cut off Osama bin Laden.

In the wake of Judicial Watch and other criticism of its ties to the bin Laden family business, the Carlyle Group reportedly no longer does business with the bin Laden conglomerate. Yet the Group, among other conflicts of interest, reportedly has a major business relationship with the Saudi Arabian government, which many have criticized for its lack of cooperation in America’s war on terrorism and its financial and other support for terrorist attacks on Israel and U.S. interests.

“It stands to reason, as noted in the David Sanger piece in The New York Times today, that President Bush consults with his father on issues of the day. In a normal situation, this would be appropriate, but with President Bush’s father being effectively an agent of the Saudi Arabian government, it raises, in the least, a conflict of interest problem. Questions can be raised, for instance, if the ‘kid gloves’ treatment of Saudi Arabia by the Bush Administration has anything to do with his father’s financial ties to the Saudi regime. Former President Bush would be doing his son and his country a favor by immediately resigning from the Carlyle Group,” stated Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman.

Coincidences? Perhaps, but I don’t like coincidences, particularly when Americans die in an illegal war wages on false intelligences, outright lies and too much disturbing coincidence.