US to Launch New Bid to Hunt Down bin Laden

Speculation Abounds, but Officials Concede No Idea Where He Is

As the last defense secretary of the Bush Administration and the current defense secretary of the Obama Administration, Robert Gates is probably in a better position than any official to explain the failure of the US to capture Osama bin Laden over the past several years.

His answer is quite simple: the US doesn’t know where bin Laden is, and hasn’t had any reliable intelligence on this in years. “If we did, we’d go get him,” Gates insisted.

That may be about to change, as National Security Adviser James Jones says responded to the question of whether or not the Obama Administration was going to try to go after bin Laden with a none-too-assertive “I think so.”

Jones added to this with speculation that bin Laden was somewhere in North Waziristan, and that he is sometimes also in Afghanistan, adding “and we’re going to have to get after that.”

A recent Senate report said that bin Laden was “within reach” in December of 2001. Since then the al-Qaeda leader has been trotted out by officials as a justification of the Afghan War, but they have never again come close to capturing or killing him.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of