” ‘We’ve got to change the rules,’ the CIA’s [unidentified] bin Laden unit chief argued in the aftermath [of the USS Cole bombing on October 12, 2000]. It was time for the agency to try to break the policy stalemate about the Taliban. Al Qaeda was growing, and its sanctuary in Afghanistan allowed ever more ambitious operations. Within the CIA and at interagency White House sessions the Counterterrorist Center officers spoke starkly. ‘Al Qaeda is training and planning in Afghanistan, and their goal is to destroy the United States,’ they declared, as one official recalled it. ‘Unless we attack their safe haven, they are going to get continually stronger and stronger.”

 – Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, Page 538