WASHINGTON -- The CIA has come closer to capturing or killing Osama bin Laden's top deputy than was previously known during the last nine years, The Associated Press has learned.
Tragically, the agency thought it had its best chance last year at a secret base in Afghanistan, but instead fell victim to a double agent's devastating suicide bombing.
The CIA missed a chance to nab Ayman al-Zawahri in 2003 in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar, where he met with another senior al-Qaida leader who was apprehended the next day, several current and former U.S. intelligence officials said.
The fugitive Egyptian doctor may also have narrowly survived a bombing by Pakistani military planes in 2004, the former and current officials said. And a well-publicized U.S. missile strike aimed at him in 2006 failed because he did not turn up at the attack site, they said.