Washington’s Blog 
Monday, Nov 30th, 2009
You’ve heard that – according to the U.S. Senate – Bin Laden was “within the grasp” of the U.S. military in Afghanistan in December 2001, but that then-secretary of defense Rumsfeld refused  to provide the soldiers necessary to capture him.
This is not news: it was disclosed  in 2005 by the CIA field commander for the area in Afghanistan where Bin Laden was holed up.
In addition, French soldiers allegedly  say that they easily could have captured or killed Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but that the American commanders stopped them.
And the oldest – and second-largest – French newspaper claims  that CIA agents met with Bin Laden two months before 9/11, when he was already wanted for the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole.
At that point, it should have been obvious to the American and allied intelligence services that
Bin Laden was involved in planning 9/11:
- America’s close ally Israel tracked the hijackers’ every move prior to the attacks, and sent agents to film the attack on the World Trade Centers 
- The intelligence services of the French and other governments had infiltrated the highest levels of Al-Qaeda’s camps, and actually listened to the hijackers’ debates about which airlines’ planes should be hijacked, and allied intelligence services also intercepted phone conversations between Al-Qaeda members regarding the attacks 
- The National Security Agency  and the FBI  were each independently listening in on the phone calls between the supposed mastermind of the attacks and the lead hijacker. Indeed, the FBI built its own antenna in Madagascar specifically to listen in on the mastermind’s phone calls
- The day before 9/11, the mastermind told  the lead hijacker “tomorrow is zero hour” and gave final approval for the attacks. The NSA intercepted the message that day and the FBI was likely also monitoring the mastermind’s phone calls
- Shortly before 9/11, the NSA also intercepted multiple phone calls to the United States from Bin Laden’s chief of operations 
- The CIA and the NSA had been intercepting phone calls by the hijackers  for years (see also this )
- Indeed, two days before 9/11, Bin Laden called his stepmother and told her “In two days, you’re going to hear big news and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” U.S. officials later told CNN  that “in recent years they’ve been able to monitor some of bin Laden’s telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded.” Indeed, before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother.
- And according to CBS News , at 9:53 a.m on 9/11, just 15 minutes after the hijacked plane had hit the Pentagon, “the National Security Agency, which monitors communications worldwide, intercepted a phone call from one of Osama bin Laden’s operatives in Afghanistan to a phone number in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia”, and secretary of Defense Rumsfeld learned about the intercepted phone call in real-time (if the NSA monitored and transcribed phone calls in real-time on 9/11, that implies that it did so in the months leading up to 9/11 as well)
But even ignoring everything that happened in and before 2001, there are still unanswered questions. Specifically, a retired Colonel and Fox News military analyst said  that the U.S. could have killed Bin Laden in 2007, but didn’t:
We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty — which is huge in the world of intelligence — that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers — Seal Team 6 — nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it ….Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.
So if Bin Laden is alive, American leaders have to explain why they have repeatedly chosen not to pull the trigger. And if he is dead, they have to explain why they are claiming that he’s alive and authenticating his videos.