Get Bin Laden by Election Day, or die

You should see the New Republic article on Bush’s obsession with coming up with a summer surprise, i.e., the capture or death of Osama Bin Laden.

We all want to see Bin Laden liquidated; the ugly thing here is Bush putting enormous pressure on Pakistan to deliver the goods prior to Election Day.

This public pressure would be appropriate, even laudable, had it not been accompanied by an unseemly private insistence that the Pakistanis deliver these high-value targets (HVTs) before Americans go to the polls in November. The Bush administration denies it has geared the war on terrorism to the electoral calendar. “Our attitude and actions have been the same since September 11 in terms of getting high-value targets off the street, and that doesn’t change because of an election,” says National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack.

But The New Republic has learned that Pakistani security officials have been told they must produce HVTs by the election. According to one source in Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), “The Pakistani government is really desperate and wants to flush out bin Laden and his associates after the latest pressures from the U.S. administration to deliver before the [upcoming] U.S. elections.”

Due to shenanigans like this, the cynicism over anything the Bush administration says or does right now has reached new levels. Today, Tom Ridge warned us yet again of new indications of terrorist chatter. A CNN poll showed that more than 90 percent of viewers believed it was a political stunt. That’s alarming. After all, GWB constantly stresses, “You know who I am, you know what I stand for.” If what he stands for is grandstanding and deceiving the populace for political points, some of that trust he’s counting on to win in November may be seriously diluted.

The Discussion: 11 Comments

Anonymous sources at one of the world’s most unsavory intelligence services, with longstanding ties to bin Laden and the Taliban and every reason to try to discredit the administration — Yeah, that’s reliable.

Your reference to the “October Surprise” was apt — recall that the October surprise was turned out to be total bullshit. My guess is that this is too.

On the otherhand, if it isn’t, then Bush is pressuirng Pakistan to capture bin Laden. What a nightmare. We wouldn’t want that would we?

July 8, 2004 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

“On the otherhand, if it isn’t, then Bush is pressuirng Pakistan to capture bin Laden. What a nightmare. We wouldn’t want that would we?”

Well we know some people who wouldn’t anyway.

July 9, 2004 @ 2:01 am | Comment

The question is whether the Bush administration is stepping up the pressure on Pakistan now (as opposed to, say, two years ago), and if so, why. I don’t trust the ISI either, but if a major “HVT” capture is in fact announced during the Democratic convention, the Busheviki are gonna have some serious ‘splainin’ to do:

But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring that “it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July”–the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

And if you read further down, it turns out the Pakistanis have a vested interest in keeping Li’l George in office:

‘In Pakistan, there has been a folk belief that, whenever there’s a Republican administration in office, relations with Pakistan have been very good,’ says Khalid Hasan, a U.S. correspondent for the Lahore-based Daily Times. By contrast, there’s also a ‘folk belief that the Democrats are always pro-India.’

July 9, 2004 @ 2:45 am | Comment

Vaara, nonsense. Most of the ISI would be happy to see the back of Bush and, if OBL is captured — whether during the convention or otherwise — no serious person is going to criticize the White House. If Kerry really wants to be President, I would strongly suggest that he does not bitch about the circumstances of a bin Laden capture.

Finally, the very idea that the White House asked for bin Laden’s capture during the Democratic Convention is so absurd, so improbable, so utterly unrealistic, that it’s laughable. Does anyone really think that the ISI could deliver him up on those specific dates? Does anyone believe that anyone in a position of power in the White House would even ask for such a thing?

I can see increasing pressure to get the guy, but the inclusion of those specific dates in the story, convinces me that the whole thing is a complete crock.

July 9, 2004 @ 4:21 am | Comment

Most of the ISI would be happy to see the back of Bush

Interviewed them all personally, have you?

I’m perfectly willing to believe that the story is, as you say, “a crock.” It certainly wouldn’t be the first time TNR has published a big steaming vat of fecal matter — cf. “The Bell Curve.”

But if you really think the Bushies are above using the War on Terror™ for partisan purposes, you’re seriously deluded. Exhibit A: the timing and location of the GOP convention.

July 9, 2004 @ 5:36 am | Comment

The key to the article is in its closing paragraphs, on why we haven’t pushed into certain border areas in the past and the dangers this could pose to Pakistan. Now they (Pakistani troops) are being forced to go there, raising the question, if we weren’t forcing them to go there before the election, why not? Why are we forcing them now — what changed?

July 9, 2004 @ 9:19 am | Comment


The “October Surprise” did not turn out to be “bullshit.” It is 100 percent factual, as has been documented in two or three mainstream books. But, if you want further proof, go to the The LongBow Papers, click on “Read Joseph Bosco,” then click on “The Bear In Winter,” and you can learn the truth from a man who had no horse in the race: General Leonid Shebarshin, the last Chairman of the KGB, who was Station Chief in Tehran at the time and through the KGB’s rather successful infiltration of human “assets,” and electronic monitoring in Iran, France and Moscow gathered the facts of the deal the Republicans struck with the Devil to beat Jimmy Carter.

This is not conspiracy theory stuff, just the facts.


July 9, 2004 @ 12:27 pm | Comment

The “October Surprise” was bullshit, initiated, btw, by nutcase extraordinaire Lyndon LaRouche(See LaRouche publication Executive Intelligence Review, 2 December 1980.)

Credible journalists have exposed it for the nonsense it is (See Frank Snepp, “Brenneke Exposed,” Village Voice, 10 September 1991; John Barry, “Making of a Myth,” Newsweek, 11 November 1991; Steve Emerson and Jesse Furman, “The Conspiracy That Wasn’t,” New Republic, 18 November 1991; and Frank Snepp, “October Surmise,” Village Voice, 25 February 1992).

US House and Senate investigations both reported that there was no credible evidence to support the allegations, ample evidence to discount a number of specific verifiable allegations and reason to believe that key witnesses alleging such a deal committed perjury.

The October Surprise is a gasious emination from the deepest conspiracy fever-swamps. An utter fantasy on the order of believing that Bill Clinton had Vince Foster killed or that OJ didn’t butcher his wife and Ron Goldman.

July 12, 2004 @ 10:25 pm | Comment

Kevin Phillips seems to think it was quite probable that GHWB orchestrated the October Surprise. I’ll double-check what he wrote and try to post about it later this week.

July 13, 2004 @ 8:57 pm | Comment


I know you don’t believe that O.J. “Butchered” Ron and Nicole with a knife by himself. So I will let that pass.

I am also sure by the references you noted that you did not put much stock in Gary Stick’s book, “October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan,” Diane Publishing (May 1, 1991).

Or Barbara Honegger’s “October Surprise,” Tudor Publishers (May 1, 1989). Although you should; she worked in the Reagan campaign and in the White House.

However, if you want indisputable proof, I can arrange for you to meet with General Leonid Shebarshin the next time we are both in Moscow. Obviously you didn’t believe what I wrote he said on the matter in “The Bear In Winter.”

All the best,


July 14, 2004 @ 12:38 pm | Comment

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) 9/6/04- The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden in the last two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast Saturday.

“If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught,” Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told private Geo television network.

Asked if concrete progress had been made during the last two months – when Pakistan has arrested dozens of terror suspects including some key al-Qaida operatives – Black said, “Yes, I would say this.”

Black, who briefed a group of Pakistani journalists after talks with officials here Friday, said he could not predict exactly when bin Laden and other top al-Qaida fugitives would be nabbed.

“What I tell people, I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and he’s been caught along with all his lieutenants. That can happen because of the programs and infrastructure in place,” he told Geo.

Bin Laden and his top associate, Ayman al-Zawahri, are believed to be hiding some place along the rugged border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Officials have divulged no solid intelligence about bin Laden’s precise whereabouts, and it’s not clear if they have any.

Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, and Black’s visit comes weeks after Pakistani security forces captured Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian wanted for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in east Africa, and Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, a Pakistani computer expert allegedly linked to al-Qaida operatives around the world.

The arrests led to a terror warning in the United States, and arrests in Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

Black attended a meeting of the Pakistan-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counterterrorism and Law Enforcement in Islamabad on Thursday and Friday.

During the talks, Pakistan asked U.S. officials for more helicopters, surveillance and communications equipment to help Pakistani forces guard border areas near Afghanistan “more efficiently,” a Pakistani official at the talks said.

“We got a positive response from the American officials,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pakistan has deployed about 70,000 troops along the Afghan border and conducted several military operations this year in its lawless and largely autonomous tribal regions against al-Qaida suspects and their local supporters.

September 6, 2004 @ 9:52 am | Comment

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