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US rejects reports saying Osama trail has gone cold

"If Bin Laden was thoroughly successful, he'd be sitting on a throne issuing fatwas," US says. Have your say | In pics

india Updated: Sep 11, 2006 20:11 IST

US on Monday rejected as "flat wrong" media reports that the trail of Osama bin Laden has gone "stone cold" and said it will never stop looking until the Al-Qaeda chief is found.

"That's just wrong. That's just flat wrong. The fact is that although we're not at liberty to go into sources and methods, we have never stopped looking for (Osama) bin Laden and will not until we have found him and dealt with him," White House Spokesman Tony Snow said.

Snow, while on way to New York for the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, was replying to questions about a report in The Washington Post on Sunday that the trail had gone "stone cold" in the search for Osama bin Laden.

Asked if the fact that it is hard to find Osama is itself a sign of American success, he said, "...In some ways, it is."

"If bin Laden was thoroughly successful, he'd be sitting on a throne conducting press conferences or issuing fatwas  in full view of everyone—and he is not doing so."

"One of the things I can say is that bin Laden is harder to find these days because he, in fact, does not feel at liberty to move about, he does not feel at liberty to use electronic means of communications," he told reporters accompanying President George W Bush.

"In many ways, the senior leadership of Al-Qaeda has been degraded. And under such circumstances, somebody leaves fewer clues. But the United States and allies are continuing to pursue bin Laden and have never ceased doing so," he added.

Snow refused to get into the intelligence aspects of the hunt for Osama but argued that over a period of time, the terrorist mastermind and his associates have gone into more primitive methods of communication.

"There have been clues in the past, for instance, based on electronic communications, as you know -- satellite telephones -- they have changed the way in which they've done a number of things -- and I won't go into that, but they have changed their methods of operation in response to the fact that they don't want to be found out," Snow said.

"It's just tougher. They've moved to more primitive means of communication and they've gone to ground," the White House spokesman said.

"...We are working as vigorously as possible to go after bin Laden, and so are other governments -- this is not simply a United States effort; there are a variety of parties involved and all want to get him," he added.