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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
CIA 'knows Bin Laden whereabouts'
Osama Bin Laden
The US has offered $25m for Bin Laden's capture
The head of the US Central Intelligence Agency has said he has an "excellent idea" where Osama Bin Laden is hiding.

But CIA director Porter Goss did not say when the world's most wanted man would be caught, nor his location.

He told Time magazine there were "weak links" in the US-led war on terror. His remarks follow recent US criticism of Pakistan's role in hunting suspects.

Bin Laden, wanted for the 9/11 attacks, is widely believed to be in Pakistan's tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

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He has eluded capture ever since the 11 September, 2001 airliner attacks in the United States for which al-Qaeda is blamed.

Thousands of US-led troops have been deployed to find the Saudi-born billionaire, who has a $25m bounty on his head.

'Sanctuaries'

Mr Goss said it was unlikely Bin Laden would be brought to justice until "we strengthen all the links" in the chain in the US-led hunt for terror suspects.

In the chain that you need to successfully wrap up the war on terror, we have some weak links
CIA director Porter Goss

"When you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.

"We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community."

Asked if he had a good idea where Bin Laden is, he said: "I have an excellent idea of where he is. What's the next question?"

'Irresponsible'

The CIA chief did not mention Pakistan by name in his interview with Time.

US Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
Mr Khalilzad questioned Pakistan's contribution

But his comments come after a row between Islamabad and the departing US ambassador to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who has frequently accused Pakistan of sheltering terror suspects.

The US envoy was angered last week after Pakistani television station Geo interviewed a senior Taleban commander in Afghanistan, who said both Bin Laden and Taleban leader Mullah Omar were alive and well.

"If a TV station can get in touch with them, how can the intelligence service of a country which has nuclear bombs and a lot of security and military forces not find them?" asked Mr Khalilzad in an interview with an Afghan television station.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman called Mr Khalilzad's remarks "irresponsible".

Pakistan was the main backer of Afghanistan's hardline former Taleban rulers until President Musharraf joined the war on terror in late 2001.

Hundreds of terror suspects, including a string of men alleged to be senior al-Qaeda figures, have been arrested in Pakistan since then.

'Intent high'

Mr Goss, a critic of the CIA's former tactics, said he was giving the agency a thorough shake-up, and it was doing a "pretty good job" staying ahead of al-Qaeda's capability.

On the possibility of more al-Qaeda attacks on US targets, he said: "Certainly the intent is very high."




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