The State Department’s own Tora Bora
Thanks to newspaper and television headlines, almost everyone in Pakistan knew that the United States had offered US$25 million for information that led to the capture of Osama bin Laden. The only problem was that both the conscientious and the plainly greedy did not quite know who to call! That is the picture that emerges from the New York Sun’s recent revelations on the as yet unsuccessful hunt for old man Osama (Via Sepia Mutineer Manish & Vijay Dandapani).
Nancy Powell, a former American ambassador to Pakistan, is being held responsible for the failure to distribute ‘wanted’ posters, matchboxes and other handbills advertising the reward.
It is not the reward that needed publicity — it was the call to action. In the absence of phone numbers to call, potential informers would perhaps have approached Pakistani authorities. And Pakistani authorities at best have a mixed record of reporting and capturing al-Qaeda suspects. The missing posters are a classic case of the lost horse-shoe nail; perhaps a bureaucratic version of Tora Bora.