Al-Qaeda and the Cole

I remember that while watching the testimony before the 9/11 commission last week that there was a lot of discussion about the Cole bombing, about assessing blame and determining who was responsible for the bombing itself and when the CIA made the call to put it on Al-Qaeda.

I might have to go back and look at the transcripts, but my recollection was that the Republicans on the committee were trying to put the official blame on Al-Qaeda as early as late 2000, while Albright, Tenet, Clarke and Berger dated it to sometime after the handover to the Bush administration.

The only reason I bring this up is that I was reading Colin Powell's Statement upon the release of the Patterns of Global Terrorism, looking for the charge made in today's Daily Mislead that

Specifically, on April 30, 2001, CNN reported that the Bush Administration's release of the government's annual terrorism report contained a serious change: "there was no extensive mention of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden" as there had been in previous years. When asked why the Administration had reduced the focus, "a senior Bush State Department official told CNN the U.S. government made a mistake in focusing so much energy on bin Laden."2.
That 2 leads to an unlinked CNN story, and so I went to the State Department's report on Patterns of Global Terrorism for 2000 to see if I could the original material. I haven't yet found what the Misleader was talking about, but I did find this statement from Colin Powell's remarks.
The continuing investigation of the bombing of the USS Cole, a probe that involved a wide number of countries, has thus far been productive and continues to move forward.

So as of April 30, 2001, the official position of the State Department was that the Cole bombing was still under investigation. It's also interesting that Powell mentions Bin laden only once and only in relation to the fact that the Taliban is harboring him, and al-Qaeda not at all, in his comments. That might indicate that the administration was indeed more focused on states than on terrorist groups.

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