Soufan and Fallon Quoted: U.S. Failure to Retaliate for USS Cole Attack Rankled Then – and Now
October 12, 2010

NBC News
By Michael Isikoff

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Declassified docs show U.S. officials urged Clinton, Bush to strike al-Qaida

Newly declassified documents show the frustrations of top White House counterterrorism officials over the U.S. failure to respond to al-Qaida’s October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole despite evidence that Osama bin Laden was reading poetry about the murderous attack and publicly taking credit for it.

The lack of U.S. response to the Cole attack – under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – has re-emerged as a painful issue this week, as crew and family members gather at the U.S. naval base in Norfolk, Va., to mark the 10th anniversary of the bombing, which killed 17 U.S. sailors and injured…

At 11:15 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2000, the Cole – a billion dollar destroyer armed with the most advanced weapons in the U.S. naval arsenal – was docked off the coast of Yemen for refueling when it was approached by a small skiff packed with explosives and manned by two suicide bombers. The resulting explosion was a chilling precursor to the attacks on Sept. 11. It ripped a 60-by-40-foot hole in the ship’s hull, trapping the bodies of many of the dead crew members in the wreckage…

“Within two weeks we had significant information (that) we felt … was solid evidence that the attack was linked not only to al-Qaida but to Osama bin Laden,” said Mark Fallon, chief of the U.S. Navy investigative task force, in an exclusive interview with NBC News. By January, after those confessions were verified in questioning by FBI Agent Ali Soufan, the case against bin Laden and al-Qaida was “rock solid,” Fallon added…

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To read the full article please click on the link below:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39622062/ns/us_news-security/

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