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CIA officials: hunt for bin Laden is on and just as strong as ever, they promise!

Reported by Chrish - July 6, 2006 -

Julie Banderas substituted for John Gibson on yesterday's Big Story (7/5/06) and interviewed Mike Baker, a former CIA covert agent, about the revelation that the CIA has shut down the unit that had been focused on finding OBL. Baker is also a member of The Arkin Group, yet another well-connected "intelligence risk management" company with long ties to Bush I, the CIA, and the Middle East.

As predicted, Baker attributes this closing to a mere reorganization, not in any way viewing bin Laden as any less important a target. The man who organized the operation, dubbed "Alec Station," thinks it was a big mistake to close it down but Baker reiterates it was a "restructuring" and denies it's a mistake. But listen to how Banderas presented the question and see if you agree that she misunderstands what she is saying:

"So the man who organized this thing, Alec Station, believes that it wasa big mistake, to pull off. Do you think it was?" Baker: "To change the structure of the office?"
I suppose it could be interpreted either way but to someone who hadn't done some research and already knew the operation was "Alec Station" it appears she is saying the organizer is named Alec Station. Confusing and not informative, at best.

Baker continued to re-phrase and repeat that it is a restructuring, even using the e-word (evolved) until a FOX News Alert swooshed over him as he spoke. Banderas announces that the coroner in Mesa County CO is speaking on Ken Lay's death, but by the time we got to hear him he had already made his announcement, so all we heard was "and there isn't any other particular information that we're releasing at this particular time." Smooth! We did get to hear that no foul play was involved and a few details about Lay's death, and Banderas got back to Baker pretty quickly.

Asked if other forces, such as Delta Force which had been tasked with getting Zarqawi, would now be targeted to finding bin Laden, Baker reiterated that intelligence is necessarily fluid and this is not a downgrading of bin Laden. Banderas framed it as a "back to the drawing board?" and Baker said it was, in a way, and they constantly adjust and adapt.

Comment: This had "damage control" written all over it. After OBL has been trotted out for every election and polling slump, effectively elevated by the Bush administration to the most wanted man in the world , it will shave a few more points off the faithful numbers to learn that the unit dedicated to finding him has been disbanded. With the administration's track record one can fairly wonder just who is getting the contract to find OBL, and at what cost?