Saturday, September 16, 2006

OBL's phone: the myth lives on.

Some of you might know that I'm an avid writer and reader of LTTEs, just look at my letters in the link to the right. (The more recent ones are in this blog) Now, today I read a fairy reasonable letter about the whole "path to 9/11" thing in the Inquirer. What struck me most was this part:

"Sometimes, one sentence in a book carries more impact than drama actors can. The book [the 9/11 commission report] says: 'Worst of all, al-Qaeda's senior leadership had stopped using a particular means of communication . . . after a leak in the Washington Times.' Is this what our Founding Fathers had in mind by freedom of the press?"

Although I love the idea of OBL reading the Reverend Moon's Washington Times, this story about OBL and his Satellite phone is simply untrue. I can't believe this is in the 9/11 Commission Report. In the past few days there has been a lot of back and forth about "The Path to 9/11" and all its bogus fictionalizations, but this is ridiculous. When I saw the part of the mocumentary where this came up, I assumed they were just rehashing old lies, not ripping it right out of the pages of the 9/11 report!

The WaPo exposed this whole thing last December. This supposed leak happened in 1998 but there were other reports about his phone as far back as 1996 . . . "and the source of the information was another government, the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan at the time. The second time a news organization reported on the satellite phone, the source was bin Laden himself. Causal effects are hard to prove, but other factors could have persuaded bin Laden to turn off his satellite phone in August 1998. A day earlier, the United States had fired dozens of cruise missiles at his training camps, missing him by hours."

Case closed.


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