Senate Democrats

Reid Spokesman Response To Perino’s Claim It Takes ‘Super Powers’ To Capture Bin Laden

Washington, DC—Jim Manley, spokesman to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, made the following statement today in response to White House Press Secretary Dana Perino’s claim that the United States has failed to kill or capture Osama bin Laden seven years after 9/11 because “This is not the movies. We don’t have super powers”:

“Dana’s right: it’s not a movie – because no one could ever conceive such a tragic plot full of so many foreign policy blunders.  No one ever said the White House needs super powers – just a capable leader who recognizes that our resources are better spent hunting down Osama bin Laden in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region than fighting a civil war in Iraq.”

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White House Press Secretary Dana Perino Claimed It Would Take ‘Super Powers’ To Capture Osama bin Laden. “The White House said Wednesday that the failure to capture Osama bin Laden in the seven years since the Sept. 11 attacks shows the limitations of U.S. military and intelligence power. “This is not the movies. We don’t have super powers,” said White House press secretary Dana Perino. [AP, 9/10/08

Intelligence Officials Argued the Iraq War Hampered the Military’s Ability to Track bin Laden. “Officials with the CIA and the U.S. military said they began shifting resources out of Afghanistan in early 2002 and still haven’t recovered from that mistake. “Iraq was a fundamental wrong turn. That was the most strategically negative action that was taken,” said John O. Brennan, a former deputy executive director of the CIA and a former chief of the National Counterterrorism Center. “The collective effort in the government required to go after an individual like bin Laden — the Iraq campaign consumed that.” [Washington Post, 9/10/08]

In the Seven Years Since 9/11 the Bush Administration Has Failed to Hunt Down Osama bin Laden, Officials Now Blame Misguided Strategy and Belatedly Call for a New Approach. “Frustrated by repeated dead ends in the search for Osama bin Laden, U.S. and Pakistani officials said they are questioning long-held assumptions about their strategy and are shifting tactics to intensify the use of the unmanned but lethal Predator drone spy plane in the mountains of western Pakistan… There has been no confirmed trace of bin Laden since he narrowly escaped from the CIA and the U.S. military after the battle near Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in December 2001, according to U.S., Pakistani and European officials.  They said they are now concentrating on a short list of other al-Qaeda leaders who have been sighted more recently, in hopes that their footprints could lead to bin Laden.  In interviews, the officials attributed their failure to find bin Laden to an overreliance on military force, disruptions posed by the war in Iraq and a pattern of underestimating the enemy.  Above all, they said, the search has been handicapped by an inability to develop informants in Pakistan’s isolated tribal regions, where bin Laden is believed to be hiding.” [Washington Post, 9/10/08]

Admiral Mullen Cautioned the U.S. Was “Running Out of Time” in Afghanistan. During their testimony before the House Armed Service Committee, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said success in Afghanistan would require more civilian effort beyond the military fight. “Frankly, we’re running out of time,” Mullen said. “I’m not convinced we are winning it in Afghanistan. I am convinced we can,” he said. [Reuters, 9/10/08] 

In 2002, Bush Admitted He “Was Not Concerned About” bin Laden. When asked by reporter about the status of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, President Bush said, “Well, as I say, we haven’t heard much from him.  And I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s at the center of any command structure.  And, again, I don’t know where he is.  I  —  I’ll repeat what I said.  I truly am not that concerned about him.” [President Bush Press Conference, 3/13/02]

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