U.S. Senators: Intelligence Suggests Osama Bin Laden Alive
Suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts remain a growing mystery to the United States and to the world as well, but intelligence suggests the world's most wanted fugitive is alive, high-ranking members of the Senate Intelligence Committee said on Sunday, according to Reuters.
"We don't know where bin Laden is. The best intelligence is that al Qaeda leader is still alive but where he is continues to be a question mark," Senator Bob Graham, a Florida Democrat and the committee's chairman, commented on the NBC television program "Meet the Press."
Ever since the manhunt had embarked with regards to the Saudi dissident’s whereabouts, speculation mounted that Osama bin Laden, who U.S. officials blame for the September 11 attacks on U.S. cities, may have been killed by a missile launched from an unmanned CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) plane. The missile apparently hit senior members of his al Qaeda network.
U.S. officials said a man believed killed in the attack was quite taller than the people accompanying him, leading to suspicion the dead man was indeed Osama bin Laden himself, said to be at least 6 feet 4 inches tall.
On Saturday, an estimated 50 U.S. troops flew to the site, located in the southeastern area of Afghanistan to conclude who was actually killed, the Afghan Islamic Press, a Pakistan-based news agency said.
President George W. Bush launched a comprehensive campaign back in October that has routed bin Laden's forces in war-stricken Afghanistan. However, it apparently failed to achieve a declared primary goal of the war, "bringing to justice" the top chief of the al Qaeda network, which operates in nations throughout the entire world.
Amongst the various assessments and speculations emerging frequently with regards to Bin Laden’s fate, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, whose intelligence service has long-established contacts in Afghanistan, has recently said Osama bin Laden may have died due to kidney failure.
However, speaking on NBC, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the intelligence committee's top Republican, also said he believed bin Laden was still alive.
"He's a survivor by nature, has been, and I'll believe he's alive until we have some kind forensic evidence to the contrary. ... I have a feeling he'll reappear," he expressed.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, called upon patience as the intense hunt continues.
"We don't have any real confidence that we know his whereabouts today, nor do we know his status," Daschle said.
"We've got to keep trying. We have to be patient. We have to use all resources available to us, and I'm confident we are doing that," he told CNN's "Late Edition."
On Wednesday, CIA Director George Tenet told the intelligence committee that he did not know if Osama bin Laden was dead or alive. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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