Report: Bin Laden in Tora Bora in 2001

Aug. 7, 2005 at 6:06 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- An upcoming book written by a former CIA commander in Afghanistan says Osama bin Laden was in Tora Bora as the Taliban fled the area in late 2001.

Gary Berntsen told Newsweek magazine he and a group of American commanders had "definitive evidence" of the al-Qaida leader's general whereabouts, but lacked sufficient military support to hunt bin Laden down.

The report contrasts with President George W. Bush's assertion during the 2004 presidential campaign that U.S. military intelligence did not know bin Laden was in Tora Bora. It also contradicts a 2004 op-ed by former CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks claiming reports of bin Laden being cornered at the time were inconclusive.

Berntsen called Franks "a great American" but said Franks "was not on the ground out there. I was."

The book, "Jawbreaker," is due out in October, pending CIA approval. Berntsen is suing the agency, claiming undue holdup of the manuscript.

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