Pamela Hess
Associated Press
October 7, 2008

WASHINGTON – A top former CIA official said the intelligence agency had more than 100 Afghans acting as spies before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but told a magazine in a rare interview that nothing could have averted the attacks.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Cofer Black, the former head of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, said that looking back, he can’t think of a thing “we could have done that would have changed anything.” Black, a top executive with Blackwater Worldwide, the security firm, made the comment in an interview published in November issue of Men’s Journal.

Black told the magazine that the Taliban was ousted in 10 weeks with just “300 Army special forces and 110 CIA officers” – a statement that ignores the more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines and foreign troops that joined the battle in November. But he acknowledges that victory was temporary.

“It was not as effectively followed up as we would have liked, as U.S. military resources were redirected toward Iraq,” he said.

He contrasts the capture of the terrorist Carlos the Jackal in Sudan in 1994 and arrest by the French government with the failure to capture al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden so far.

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