Even Osama bin Laden thought it was too good to be true: CIA money bankrolling al-Qaeda operations? The New York Times explains how it sometimes came to be, and it's not all that complicated. For years, the agency delivered bags of cash monthly to the Afghan presidential palace. When the Afghans needed to come up with $5 million in 2010 to pay the ransom of a kidnapped Afghan diplomat, they dipped into the CIA cash for a chunk of it—even though the US itself does not pay such ransoms. In a letter about the deal to al-Qaeda general manager Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, bin Laden sounded a little suspicious.
“There is a possibility—not a very strong one—that the Americans are aware of the money delivery and that they accepted the arrangement of the payment on the basis that the money will be moving under air surveillance," he wrote. Bin Laden also advised exchanging the money immediately at a bank in case the bills were tainted with poison. It was no trap, however, writes Matthew Rosenberg. "It was just another in a long list of examples of how the United States, largely because of poor oversight and loose financial controls, has sometimes inadvertently financed the very militants it is fighting." Click for the full story. (Read more CIA stories.)