WASHINGTON – President Bush said Monday he does not know if Usama bin Laden is alive or dead.
"He may be alive," Bush said at a White House news conference. "If he is, we'll get him. If he's not alive, we got him."
Bush has said bin Laden and his Al Qaeda terrorist network were responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Shortly after the attacks, Bush said he wanted bin Laden "dead or alive."
Since then, Bush and other U.S. officials have downplayed the search for bin Laden, saying the more important goal is disrupting the Al Qaeda network and preventing future attacks.
"We haven't heard from him in a long time," Bush said of bin Laden. "One thing's for certain — the war on terrorism is bigger than one man."
Bush said bin Laden and other terrorist leaders are hiding like international criminals.
"We're just patiently hunting them down," he said.