Bush Puts New Focus On Bin Laden, Al-Qaida
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
We have an exclusive report now on the Pentagon's efforts to go after al-Qaida and the Taliban in the mountains of Northwest Pakistan. NPR has learned that last week's raid by U.S. special operations forces into Pakistan from Afghanistan is part of a new intensified effort to go after terrorists between now and Election Day. NPR's Tom Bowman is here with the story. Tom, what have you learned?
TOM BOWMAN: Well, Melissa, government sources tell my colleague Tom Gjelten in May that this is the first phase of three phases offer, a three-paced operation. It's an intensified effort to go after Bin Laden and the likes of him and others in the tribal areas of Pakistan as well as Taliban leaders. And another source says that the CIA's armed (unintelligible) military units as well as analysts are being pulled from other parts of the world to focus just on this area.
BLOCK: Are members of Congress in the loop?
BOWMAN: It could also make the Pakistanis reluctant to allow, you know, their logistic lines form Pakistan into Afghanistan are key getting many materials into Afghanistan for the fight in Afghanistan. So, there's a lot of worry about the political fallout of this as well.
BLOCK: And the authority for this coming from?
BOWMAN: We're also told that this Navy SEAL team on stand by in Afghanistan, ready to mount these missions. And we expect more in the coming weeks and months.
BLOCK: And Tom, we've referred to the timing of all of this. Talk about that.
BOWMAN: Well, some of our sources are raising questions about why now. Seven years after the fall of the Taliban, why is there an intense effort here? Some are pointing to political reasons, saying that (unintelligible) has a few months left, they want to have a pelt on the wall, maybe Bin Laden or other, because there's legacy building time. But that's, again, just speculation. But a lot of people are raising that question.
BLOCK: September surprise or October surprise?
BOWMAN: Could be October surprise.
BLOCK: NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman, thanks very much.
BOWMAN: You're welcome.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.