The Bin Laden Issue Station (1996–2005) was a unit of the Central Intelligence Agency dedicated to tracking Osama bin Laden.
Soon after its creation the Station developed a new, deadlier vision of bin Laden's activities. In 1999 the CIA inaugurated a grand plan against al-Qaeda, but struggled to find the resources to implement it. Nevertheless, by 9/11 the Agency achieved almost complete reporting on the militants in Afghanistan (excluding bin Laden's inner circle itself).
In 2000 a joint CIA-USAF project using Predator reconnaissance drones, and following a program drawn up by the Bin Laden Station, produced probable sightings of the Qaeda leader in Afghanistan. Resumption of flights in 2001 was delayed by arguments over a missile-armed version of the aircraft. Only on September 4, 2001 was the go-ahead given for weapons-capable drones. Also in 2001, CIA chief George Tenet set up a Strategic Assessments Branch, to remedy the deficiency of big-picture analysis on Islamist terrorism. The branch's head took up his job on September 10, 2001.
Read more about Bin Laden Issue Station: Conception, Birth and Growth, New View of Al-Qaeda, 1996–1998, First Capture Plan and US Embassy Attacks, 1997–98, New Leadership and The New Plan, 1999, Predator Drone, 2000–2001, Strategic Branch, 2001, After 9/11
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... Shortly after 9/11, Michael Scheuer came back to the Station as special adviser ... After the September 11 attacks, staff numbers at the Station were expanded into the hundreds ... of 9/11.) After 9/11, "Hendrik V.", and later "Marty M.", were chiefs of "Alec Station's Bin Ladin Unit" (says George Tenet) ...
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