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June 21, 2012

Documents: CIA short on support pre-9/11

Declassified CIA documents indicate then-President George W. Bush didn't consider Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaida high priorities. (UPI Photo/Yuri Gripas)

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- Declassified CIA documents show the agency did not get "institutional support" to pursue Osama bin Laden, a U.S. National Security Archive fellow said.

Barbara Elias-Sanborn edited 120 newly released documents, the online magazine Salon reported.

The heavily redacted documents suggest the CIA was hampered by funding problems at the end of the administration of President Bill Clinton and the beginning of that of President George W. Bush, Salon said. One document talked of the need to get Congress to move quickly in 2000 on a supplemental appropriation.

"Need forward movement on supplemental soonest due to expected early recess due to conventions, campaigning and elections," it said.

By the time al-Qaida attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001, Bush had been in office almost eight months. The documents confirm bin Laden and al-Qaida were not high priorities for the Bush administration in its early months.

"I don't think the Bush administration would want to see these released, because they paint a picture of the CIA knowing something would happen before 9/11, but they didn't get the institutional support they needed," Elias-Sanborn said.

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