Members of the decade-old unit at the spy agency have been reassigned within the CIA, an indication that, according to some, “reflects a view that Al Qaeda is no longer as hierarchical as it once was” or, according to detractors, “reflect[s] a view within the agency that Mr. bin Laden was no longer the threat he once was.”
WASHINGTON, July 3 ? The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.
The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.
The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice “dead or alive.”