September 11th, 2009
11:37 PM ET

Where's Osama bin Laden?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/01/14/binladen.message/art.bin.laden.gi.jpg]

Peter Bergen | Bio
CNN National Security Analyst

Eight years after September 11, the "war on terror" has gone the way of the dodo. And President Obama talks instead about a war against al Qaeda and its allies.

What, then, of al Qaeda's enigmatic leader, Osama bin Laden, who has vanished like a wisp of smoke? And does he even matter now?

The U.S. government hadn't had a solid lead on al Qaeda's leader since the battle of Tora Bora in winter 2001. Although there are informed hypotheses that today he is in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province on the Afghan border, perhaps in one of the more northerly areas such as Bajaur, these are essentially guesses, not "actionable" intelligence.

A longtime American counterterrorism analyst explained to me, "There is very limited collection on him personally."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Peter Bergen
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Joanne P.

    Bin Laden is well protected by his high status within the politic of the Middle East.

    September 14, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  2. sajjad


    i think he is dead, long ago , because the video's has stopped coming ,

    his aid's video's air on al-jazeera but not his ,

    think about it

    September 14, 2009 at 2:44 am |
  3. hoboduke

    Most likely he is alive and has sanctuary. Would not be shocked if Russia knows his location, in their greed to be arms merchant to terrorist organizations with money.

    September 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  4. riza

    in a bunker in afghanistan or pakistan. .. . . . .how to find him is another question. . .

    September 11, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  5. Earl

    Perhaps he is long dead. Islam has a history if its most charismatic leaders occasionally "vanishing" to repapper at some time in the far distant future to save their country or the Dar es Islam. One example of this is the "hidden Imam" of Shia Islam. There are others.

    This preserves the honor of the "hero," permitting him to be seen as a "winner." It would not suprise me if this turns out to be the case for Osama Bin Laden.

    September 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  6. Kevin Ellerholz in Muskegon,MI

    My bother has a yellow lab who has a Bin Laden chew toy, and all you have to do is tell him to find Bin Laden and he will bring him to you. No matter where he is he will find him.

    September 11, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
  7. Hector

    Hopefully if he's alive we can find him and give him what he deserves.
    Mr Bergen if you get the chance to read this and you can get a hold of AC can you tell him if there is any way he can find out were and how my friends are doing there in southern afghanistan. The're an artillery unit in November Battery 3/11. I watch his show every night to see if they report something about my friends

    September 11, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  8. Cessy, Chicago

    I havent given up..I hope he is found and punished.

    September 11, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  9. kevin mcdaid

    Does anybody really believe 9/11 was done by a man in a cave 1000's of miles away?
    America needs a boggie man to keep there sham oil and gas wars going

    September 11, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  10. Annie Kate

    He needs to be found and killed. Maybe that would make him a martyr but that is surely a better option than having to imprison him and watch him closely enough so he does not escape. It's also better than he deserves.
    I think he is alive – the tapes where he refers to recent events are too numerous to have done without him. We need to find him even if it means blowing up every cave in the area he is reportedly living in. Only then can we relax for just a little while.

    September 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  11. corvedacosta

    in pakistan....hiding

    September 11, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  12. MAC

    I hope the cockroach is suffering. I know he will suffer the unimaginable once he stands before God and goes to his eternal reward.

    It would be great were he captured and put on trial, doubtful it will happen.

    September 11, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  13. Christy

    I believe that while it is important to find this man, the main focus should be to stop the actions he and his followers choose to take. Just because he is brought to justice, does not mean that there will be less threat from this organization of terrorist. There will be someone to take over his actions. I feel like we should focus our attention on the US and make sure we are secure, including our boarders. I live in Arizona and do not feel like much is being done to secure illegal entry into the US. There is so much work to be done here, should we waste these efforts on finding one man? He is so far away from any location where the US can actively look or gain access to him.

    September 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  14. Lori

    Hopefully he is no longer alive.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  15. Stacy Beam

    Find him!!! He deserves the worst imaginable punishment.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  16. Ana I. Fernandez

    Maybe he died of natural causes n nobody knows. I sometimes think that, don't know why.

    September 11, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  17. Dino Dog, Palm Springs, Florida

    Everyone knows that the people who knew him well were the only people who could fly on 9/11 and they all left this country. Maybe we should have asked them before they boarded the plane.

    I suggest going to the place of a relative of one of his business partners. I cannot get a live scan of the place down in Crawford Texas. I suggest checking for him at the location of anyone who has had business ties with him.

    I think he still has property in Saudi Arabia, anyone called his old house lately?

    September 11, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  18. Cindy

    The man is probably dead and we're just chasing a ghost from the past! We will never truly know because we can't go to Pakistan and storm the mountains until we find him. And of course his people will keep him "alive" for as long as they can.


    September 11, 2009 at 10:59 am |