In this week’s Newsweek, reporter Evan Thomas provides an update on the hunt for bin Laden. Thomas writes that during a 2005 CIA briefing at the White House, Bush was shocked to learn that the Iraq war had so strapped the agency’s ability to focus on the man responsible for 9/11:
The Iraq War, meanwhile, has proved to be a black hole for the Americans, devouring men and mat©riel and absorbing the attention of the brass in Washington. In 2005, the CIA gave President Bush a secret slide show on the hunt for bin Laden. The president was taken aback by the small number of CIA case officers posted to Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Is that all there are?” the president asked, according to a former intelligence official, who declined to be identified discussing White House meetings. The CIA had already embarked on a “surge” of sorts, and doubled the number of officers in the field. But many were inexperienced and raw recruits, and they produced little improvement in “actionable” intelligence.