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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Panel to investigate handling of FBI mole; asset was close to bin Laden pre-9/11 -- By Buy Taylor, The Washington Times

Members of a special panel examining the FBI's counterterrorism efforts over the past decade say they will "push hard" for an answer to why the bureau has never revealed information about a human asset it reportedly had in direct contact with al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden during the early 1990s.

Leaders of the panel, established by a congressional mandate in January, told lawmakers Wednesday that their work over the coming year will center on analyzing successes and failures of the FBI's counterterrorism policies since the 2004 publication of the official 9/11 Commission report, along with recommendations.

But panel leaders told The Washington Times later that they were floored by revelations about the FBI's bin Laden source — whose existence was first highlighted in a Times story last month.
The Times reported Feb. 25 that a former top official at the FBI's Los Angeles field office recalled in an obscure employment dispute case how the bureau placed the source close to bin Laden in 1993, and ascertained that the al Qaeda leader was looking at the time to finance terrorist attacks in the United States.

The revelation also was not uncovered during the official investigations of the Sept. 11 attacks — including that conducted by the 9/11 Commission.

"We were never told about it," said former Rep. Tim Roemer, who served on the 9/11 Commission and was recently appointed (along with former Attorney General Edwin Meese and longtime national security analyst and Georgetown University professor Bruce Hoffman) to head the panel investigating the FBI.

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