Ex-Agent: Osama Got Permission to Nuke U.S.

Bump and Update: If you see 60 Minutes, let us know what you thought of CIA Agent Michael Scheuer's allegations about Osama.

On 60 Minutes Sunday evening: C.I.A. Agent Michael Scheuer, author of "Imperial Hubris," written under the pseudonym Anonymous,who resigned this week to get around an agency imposed gag order.

Scherer was the head of the CIA unit assigned to track Osama bin Laden. Now he's talking. He says Osama received permission from a sheik to use a nuclear weapon against the U.S.

"[Bin Laden] secured from a Saudi sheik...a rather long treatise on the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the Americans," says Scheuer. "[The treatise] found that he was perfectly within his rights to use them. Muslims argue that the United States is responsible for millions of dead Muslims around the world, so reciprocity would mean you could kill millions of Americans."

Scheuer says bin Laden was criticized by some Muslims for the Sept. 11 attack because he killed so many people without enough warning and before offering to help convert them to Islam. But now, bin Laden has addressed the American people and given fair warning.

"Their intention is to end the war as soon as they can, and to ratchet up the pain for the Americans until we get out of their region," says Scheuer. "If they acquire the weapon, they will use it, whether it's chemical, biological or some sort of nuclear weapon."

On why we haven't caught bin Laden, Scheuer blames former CIA Director George Tenet:

"One of the questions that should have been asked of Mr. Tenet was why were there always enough people for the public relations office, for the academic outreach office, for the diversity and multi-cultural office," says Scheuer. "All those things are admirable and necessary but none of them are protecting the American people from a foreign threat."

Scheuer also says we underestimated and failed to respect bin Laden.

"I think our leaders over the last decade have done the American people a disservice...continuing to characterize Osama bin Laden as a thug, as a gangster," he says. "Until we respect him, sir, we are going to die in numbers that are probably unnecessary, yes. He's a very, very talented man and a very worthy opponent."

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