US Senate to add funds to track bin Laden

The US Senate voted unanimously Thursday to devote $200 million (€157 million) to revive a Central Intelligence Agency unit dedicated to hunting down Osama bin Laden and other top al-Qaida leaders as it neared a final vote on a huge Pentagon budget bill. The Senate approved the amendment, offered by Democrats Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad, by a 96-0 vote. News accounts in July reported that a CIA unit dedicated to capturing bin Laden had been disbanded. "What does it say to violent jihadists that a terrorist mastermind remains alive and well five years after killing 3,000 Americans?" Conrad said. "Our bill tells the terrorists that protecting our nation is the first priority - and that we are going to deliver to bin Laden the justice that a mass murderer deserves." The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the CIA Counterterrorist Center.