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Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden

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Intel unit told to stop trcking Bin LadenA great deal of con­trover­sy has aris­en about what was known about the move­ments and loc­a­tion of Osama bin Laden in the wake of his kill­ing by US Speci­al For­ces on May 2 in Ab­bot­tabad, Pakis­tan. Ques­tions about what in­tel­lig­ence agen­cies knew or didn't know about al-Qaeda ac­tivit­ies go back some years, most pro­minent­ly in the con­trover­sy over the ex­ist­ence of a joint US Speci­al For­ces Com­mand and De­fen­se In­tel­lig­ence Agen­cy (DIA) data min­ing ef­fort known as "Able Dang­er."

What hasn't been dis­cus­sed is a Sep­temb­er 2008 De­part­ment of De­fen­se (DoD) in­spec­tor gener­al (IG) re­port, sum­mariz­ing an in­ves­tiga­tion made in re­spon­se to an ac­cusa­tion by a Joint For­ces In­tel­lig­ence Com­mand (JFIC) whistleb­low­er, which in­dicated that a sen­ior JFIC com­mand­er had hal­ted ac­tions track­ing Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11. JFIC is tas­ked with an in­tel­lig­ence mis­s­ion in sup­port of Uni­ted States Joint Force Com­mand (USJFCOM).

The re­port, tit­led "Re­view of Joint For­ces In­tel­lig­ence Com­mand Re­spon­se to 9/11 Com­miss­ion," was de­clas­sified last year, in re­spon­se to a Freedom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quest from Stev­en Af­tergood at the Federa­tion of American Scient­ists.

The whistleb­low­er, who the IG re­port iden­tified as a form­er JFIC em­ployee re­presen­ted only by his co­dename "IRON MAN," claimed in lett­ers writt­en to both the DoD in­spec­tor gener­al in May 2006 and, lack­ing any ap­parent ac­tion by the IG, to the Of­fice of the Nation­al Di­rec­tor of In­tel­lig­ence (ODNI) in Oc­tob­er 2007, that JFIC had with­held op­eration­al in­for­ma­tion about al-Qaeda when queried in March 2002 about its ac­tivit­ies by the DIA and high­er com­mand of­fici­als on be­half of the 9/11 Com­miss­ion. The ODNI pas­sed the com­plaint back to the IG, who then op­ened an in­ves­tiga­tion under the aus­pices of the de­puty in­spec­tor gener­al for in­tel­lig­ence.

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