Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Bin Laden's head on ice
Gary Schroen was the head of the CIA team sent a team to Afghanistan days after 9/11. He recalled his orders from the CIA's counter-terrorism chief Cofer Black:
"Capture Bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back in a box on dry ice." As for other al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan, Mr Black reportedly said: "I want their heads up on pikes."Said Mr. Schroen of these orders, in an interview with NPR,
Contacted by the radio network, Mr Black would not confirm that these were his exact words but he did not dispute Mr Schroen's account.
"Sir, those are the clearest orders I have ever received.
"I can certainly make pikes out in the field but I don't know what I'll do about dry ice to bring the head back - but we'll manage something."
Of the mission itself:
Mr Schroen was given a double brief, it reported: to liaise with anti-Taleban warlords on the ground as preparation for the overthrow of the regime, and to then assassinate Bin Laden and other top al-Qaeda figures.
The agency allowed Mr Schroen to pick his own six-man team and, exactly one week after 9/11, they were on a plane flying to the region, equipped with laptops, hand-held radios, instant coffee and $3m in $100 bills.
I guess people at the CIA at the time were pissed. But heads on pikes? Reminds me of the Crusader's actions after the 1099 fall of Jerusalem. Not one of the western civilization's best moments.