Valid Reason For CIA Boss Porter Goss Saying He Has An Excellent Idea Where UBL Is?

Subtitled: Am I missing something?

From the current issue of Time Magazine, Ten Questions For Porter Goss, by Timothy J. Burger.

Question #1: When will we get Osama bin Laden? Answer:

Question 2: It sounds like you have a pretty good idea of where he is. Where? Answer:

OK, the next question: What in holy hell are you talking about & is there a any valid reason why you, as the Director of CIA, would divulge this little tidbit to the public? You have an excellent idea where the #1 most wanted terrorist is, what (or who) is preventing you from either taking him out or arresting him & chaining him to the floor at Gitmo? Is the CIA so impotent, they’re putting the ‘sovereignty issues of other states’ ahead of the safety[sup]1[/sup] of the American public?

[sup]1[/sup]Granted, one could argue the capture of Bin Laden would be more ceremonial than practical in terms of fighting terror – but I don’t want go there

I’m going to operate on the assumption this statement from Goss is a major gaff from (I assume, politically savvy) former 9-term Congressman & Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

What good comes from it – aren’t some things better left unsaid? OK, Goss knows UBL’s whereabouts:[ul][]Skeptics will say he’s either a liar, a braggart, terribly misinformed, a blowhard or ‘up to something’[]Rogue states that harbor terrorists now know the Bush Doctrine is nothing but hot air. Maybe there is no distinction between terrorists and those who offer safe haven; they both get a free pass[]Political rivals will assume the administration is waiting until polls bottom out before capturing Bin Laden; Maybe they’ll even coin the phrase ‘July Suprise’.[]If another terror strike occurs, victims and the public in general will lay the blame squarely at Goss’ doorstep: You knew where he was and didn’t get him?[]Internationalists will pleased to hear we’re using diplomatic channels – as opposed to covert operations - in trying to nail Bin Laden…but isn’t diplomacy best left to the Dept. of State, not the CIA?[]People smarter than I might say, there’s a good reason for letting the world know that the CIA knows UBL’s location, it’s _________________________. But I’ll be damned if I can figure out what that reason is.[/ul]

Same reason they send dogs out to spook the quail. A moving target is easier to hit than one that’s hidden. If the people he’s got hiding him have done their jobs, he’ll be almost impossible to find, and the best way to find him is to get those people to keep moving him from place to place. Eventually they’ll slip up and somebody will recognize him.

Maybe he’s in DurkaDurkastan, which is protected by North Korean Jets.

Mohammed jihad!!

Is that where Durkee fried onions and potato sticks come from? I’d want to hide out there, too- I could live on those for a while.

…and if you don’t believe me, I’ll put a jihad on you too!

But seriously, I think there may be more than a grain of truth to what Ethilrist is saying. I can see how it would be a reasonable strategy to make UBL to be constantly worrying about the US attempts to find him. It would probably be better than coming out and saying, “We haven’t a clue where he is, except I know he isn’t in my kitchen.”

Nah…Too simple. I think that they really do know where he is and want him to stay put. They figure that he will reason, “They are just lying about knowing where I am because they want to try to get me to move. But, I am smarter than that, so I will stay right here!” What better way to insure that he doesn’t move until they can get there…Then, bang, they got him! :wink:

That possibility crossed my mind. Seeing that our head spy knows what bush the quail is in, he may want to consider dousing it with Roundup without damaging the rest of the forest.

OK, I’ll concede the point: Goss is a Bush Puppet…no strings attached.

I couldn’t believe it when I heard that quote. What do they mean, issues of national sovereignty? Afghanistan proved that if you’re knowingly harboring Osama bin Laden, your national sovereinty is moot as far as we’re concerned. Unless, of course, your name is Pakistan, in which case you can make nice to our face and screw us over behind our back. We should have gone after them instead of Iraq if we had a leader with the sense to know who to attack in the time of war!

The flush him out theory has some merit, but I suspect ObL is constantly on the move anyway.

Maybe he is in the cupboard with the Durkee Fried Onions!!

We had an excellent idea where Bin Laden was all throughout the 1990s. According to Richard Clarke and others, the plans to go nab him at that time was hampered by the fact that we seemed to constantly know where Bin Laden was yesterday, but that did not mean that we would know where he would be in the next three hours. As a result, all these schemes to go get Bin Laden were pretty much called half-baked by serious intelligence professionals. All this was covered in the 9-11 report.

We know that Bin Laden has legions of followers who will protect his every movement, and there have been press stories galore about suspicions that he is in Waziristan. Unless we’re contemplating an invasion of Waziristan, (which could lead to an immediate anti-American backlash that could conceivably topple Musharaff), it seems entirely plausible that the CIA is in the same situation it was in ten years ago: they know where UBL was yesterday, but they can’t be sure of where they might be able to nab him today.

I wondered what legitimate reason Goss could have for saying this when the story first came out. I came up dry. Oh, and John, bin Laden doesn’t have to be constantly on the move, that’s what the waitstaff is for.

Goss should have said, “He’s in Pakistan, but if we invade part of Pakistan and kill Pakistani civilians to get him, the Pakistanis will throw Musharraf right out of office … and he’s useful to us in his current position.”

Or he could have said, “We know the general region where he is, but it would likely cost us hundreds of lives and countless dollars/tons of materiel to get him … and in the ends, who really cares, since he’s unlikely to do anything else against us, and is a useful boogeyman to help us keep pushing our agenda.”

Pakistan, as the euchre players would say, has the right bower.

Go to war with Pakistan, and maybe they won’t win, but I think I can guarantee you they can play you to a tie.

One theory floating around blogs is that the comments regarding, “But when you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states…” and “We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community.” is leading towards justification for war. Iran probably.

Remember that just because we don’t know which country Goss is talking about, Osama – provided he believes that Goss knows his location – now has some critical information: that the place he is hiding is, in fact, sovereign enough to avoid US bombs. So he is hiding somewhere that it would cost Too Much Political Capital to drop a few bombs on.

If it were Pakistan, we’d just get them to help us find him, or drop the bombs and be done with it. General Musharraf is intent on maintaining control of his country, even if his secular dictatorship is essentially a carbon-copy of old Iraq. We seem okay with that, as long as he does what we say.

Iraq and Afghanistan are Dumb Places To Hide[sup]TM[/sup] these days. Syria would mean sneaking through Iran and Iraq – not likely. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are in the middle of nowhere, and would make good hiding spots; however, Uzbekistan is allied with us to preserve their totalitarian hold on local elections. The headline “U.S. bombs Tajikistan” would baffle most Americans – I don’t think it would cost us any political capital to drop a few Mavericks on them and then apologize with money.

I think it’s Iran, and I think we’re not going to do anything there before the election, because the run-off election (tomorrow) is pretty crucial for the future of Iran. Also, every time we interfere with Iran, the Islamists get more ammo to push the country away from reforms.

But then He’ll know that WE know what HE knows. So He WILL move. But of course, he knows that, so he’ll stay. But of course, we know that.


Remember that Goss is a pol above else, a complete Bush loyalist, and that’s why he got the job. Consider his alternatives when asked where Bin Laden is. If he said he didn’t know, then he’d look like an incompetent, and bring heat on his boss for picking him for such an important job. He couldn’t say he knew for sure, either, or there’d be a different kind of heat on Bush, and of a much more intense kind. The only way to avoid heat was with a non-yes Yes, which is what he did.

We really don’t have any better idea than we did before about the quality of US intelligence.

This reflects my view as well. I would add saying “yes, we know” costs him little but a few raised eyebrows and rants in the blogoshpere.
On the “pro” side It may mess with Osama, or his terrorist pals, minds a little bit. maybe even lead to the “quail” scenario laid out here.

Saying essentially “I, the head of the CIA, have absolutely know idea where OBL - he could be in NYC even as we speak for all we at the CIA know.” would cost him more than a few raised eyebrows and rants in the blogoshpere. It might very well cost him his job. I can see know “pro” to this – except maybe a few points in the press for being “refreshingly honest”.
The usual blah-blah about the we think maybepossiblyperhapshecouldbe on border of Pakistan and Afghanistan neither gains nothing nor loses anything – that is why it is the usual blah-blah.

I do not for a second take Goss’ statement at face value. If the U.S. knew where Osama was they would get him or bomb/Tomahawk the site - heavily, be it in Iran, in Pakistan or wherever. Goss’ statement was a little riskier than the normal blahblah and I approve – but he needs to find OBL and not just play clever games