3,161. 12/5/2001

“The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year [early December 2001] and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge. Intelligence officials have assembled what they believe to be decisive evidence, from contemporary and subsequent interrogations and intercepted communications, that bin Laden began the battle of Tora Bora inside the cave complex along Afghanistan’s mountainous eastern border. Though there remains a remote chance that he died there, the intelligence community is persuaded that bin Laden slipped away in the first 10 days of December.” [The 5th of the month used for date sorting purposes only.]

 – Barton Gellman and Thomas E. Ricks, “U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight,” The Washington Post, April 17, 2002

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