May 8, 2011

VAPOR TRAIL:

The Hunt: A different sort of search requires a new set of tactics (Peter Finn, Ian Shapira and Marc Fisher, May 6, 2011, Washington Post)

Finally, after weeks of searching the caves and mountains of Tora Bora for traces of Osama bin Laden, CIA field commander Gary Berntsen believed his men had a good peg on the terrorist. Berntsen called in the big bomb - the BLU-82, a 15,000-pound device the size of a car.

The bomb was pushed out of the back of a C-130 transport plane. It struck with such force that it vaporized men deep inside caves. The devastation spread across an area as big as five football fields, killing numerous al-Qaeda fighters - including, Berntsen believed, bin Laden.

It was three months after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Berntsen thought, "I've got him now."

Six days later, two of Berntsen's men were listening to a radio they had picked up from a dead al-Qaeda fighter. They heard bin Laden addressing his troops in Arabic. The hunt went on.

Immediately after al-Qaeda's attack, America went after the world's most notorious terrorist with a quick-action injection of cash, commandos and massive firepower.

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Posted by at May 8, 2011 6:40 AM
  

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