Saturday, July 08, 2006

CIA disbands bin Laden unit

The CIA has disbanded a unit set up in the 1990s to oversee the spy agency's hunt for Osama bin Laden and transferred its duties to broader operations that track Islamist militant groups, a U.S. intelligence official said on Tuesday.

The bin Laden unit, codenamed Alec Station, became less valuable as a separate operation as counterterrorism operations eliminated top al Qaeda operatives and the movement's focus shifted more to regional networks of militants, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the bin Laden unit was disbanded late last year and quoted its first director, author Michael Scheuer ("
Imperial Hubris"), as predicting the move would denigrate the CIA's effort to find bin Laden.


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