Bin Laden U.S. Attacks 'Thwarted'

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If Osama Bin Laden was wondering why he's failed to hit a U.S. target since last summer's embassy attacks, the secret is out -- Washington is bugging his phone. Quoting unnamed intelligence officials Wednesday, USA Today revealed that the U.S. had thwarted seven attempts by Bin Laden to strike U.S. targets around the world over the past six months. The report said Washington's success had been achieved by satellite monitoring of Bin Laden's phone calls. "It's very unusual to reveal your operational capability in this way," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. "If monitoring Bin Laden's phone had allowed you to stop seven attacks, why would you tip him off to the fact?"

The reason for such "leaks," accompanied by warnings that Bin Laden is sure to strike again, may be budgetary. "While there's no doubt that Bin Laden will keep on trying to attack the U.S., intelligence agencies need to emphasize the terrorist threat in order to secure the funding necessary to track down people like him," says Dowell. Satellite monitoring costs money, after all.