Did US spies let bin Laden slip through their grasp again?
A US spy plane picked up some "tantalizing" clues last month indicating where terror leader Osama bin Laden or his deputy might be hiding, but intelligence officials were unable to move quickly enough to capture or kill the al Qaeda mastermind, NBC News reported Thursday.
"The sighting came in the rugged mountain passes of Tora Bora," NBC correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reported on the Today Show.
An unmanned spy plane spotted a large security contingent similar in size to one that would guard bin Laden or his No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, although intelligence officials were unable to positively identify either of the top terrorists.
The intelligence gathered launched the largest military operation in Afghanistan in five years, Miklaszewski reported. Some intelligence and military officials "believed there was a high probability" bin Laden or Zawahiri were there, despite the lack of a positive ID.
US forces spent three days and nights pounding the al Qaeda hideout, killing 19 al Qaeda and Taliban officials, but missing bin Laden. Some officials told NBC that the mission was not swift enough to capture or kill America's No. 1 enemy in the war on terror.
"They were just too slow, too cumbersome, too risk averse," Mike Sheehan, an NBC terrorism analyst said. "And again we've missed him."
The following video is from NBC's Today Show, broadcast on September 27.