Politics

Gates Says No Good Intel on Bin Laden in Years

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, right, sits with U.S. military leaders before President Obama addresses cadets at West Point, N.Y., on Dec. 1. (Reuters Photo)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, right, sits with U.S. military leaders before President Obama addresses cadets at West Point, N.Y., on Dec. 1. (Reuters Photo)

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States has not had good intelligence on the whereabouts of terrorist Usama bin Laden in years.

Gates made the comment in an interview to be aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Asked whether he could confirm recent reports that bin Laden had been seen recently in Afghanistan, Gates said "no." Media reports late this week mentioned accounts of unconfirmed bin Laden sightings in recent weeks.

Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, is believed to be hiding on the Pakistan side of the border with Afghanistan.

Gates also said the United States' relationship with Afghanistan is going to begin changing in July 2011.

He made the remarks in an interview to be aired Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation.

When President Barack Obama announced this past week that he was sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, he also set a timeline for starting troop withdrawals in July 2011.

Gates said the U.S. will begin transferring responsibility for security district by district, province by province to the Afghans. And he said that Afghans should understand the nature of their relationship with the U.S. will begin changing then as well. He said the economic, development and political aspects of the relationship will become a bigger part.