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March 28, 2005

NY Sun: How a Lone Diplomat Compromised the Hunt For OBL

The article teased this afternoon is now in print; better yet, it's in pixels:

By RICHARD MINITER Special to the Sun

WASHINGTON — A lone U.S. ambassador compromised America’s hunt for Osama bin Laden in Pakistan for more than two years,The New York Sun has learned.

Ambassador Nancy Powell, America’s representative in Pakistan, refused to allow the distribution in Pakistan of wanted posters, matchbooks, and other items advertising America’s $25 million reward for information leading to the capture of Mr. bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.

Instead, thousands of matchbooks, posters, and other material — printed at taxpayer expense and translated into Urdu, Pashto, and other local languages —remained “impounded” on American Embassy grounds from 2002 to 2004, according to Rep. Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois.

While the American government was engaged in a number of “black” or covert intelligence activities to locate Al Qaeda leaders, Mr. Kirk said, the “white” or public efforts — which have succeeded in the past in leading to the capture of wanted terrorists — were effectively shut down in the months following the September 11 attacks.

Mr. Kirk discovered Ms. Powell’s unusual order in January 2004 and, over the past year, launched a series of behind-the-scenes moves that culminated in a blunt conversation with President Bush aboard Air Force One, the removal of the ambassador, and congressional approval for reinvigorating the hunt for Mr. bin Laden.

And what was Ms. Powell before becoming a top diplomat to an incredibly important ally in the War on Terror?

The former schoolteacher was replaced by veteran diplomat Ryan Crocker in November 2004. The mood at the American Embassy lifted almost immediately.

Today's NEA

Either pay us more money to do crossword puzzles while your kids watch analingus videos, or else we'll fuck up every other goddamned institution in America.

We're not jerking around here, Chief.

Read the whole thing, as the man says. The elected representatives of the United States decided to make capturing OBL a top priority, but an idiot bureaucrat who thought she knew better queered the whole deal.

Thanks to "someone," whom I really wish would get hisself a proper handle, because it really looks dumb to thank "someone" all the time.

How about "Nick Valentine"? There's a name you could pick up chicks with, too.


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posted by Ace at 02:52 AM

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