Somach: Did Poker Kill Bin Laden?

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Bin Laden Poker

A rumor spreading like wildfire through the poker community suggests that last month's bust of the operators of three major online poker rooms by U.S. Feds was part of the operation that led to the killing this month of Osama bin Laden.

The rumor, which has appeared in an Atlantic City newspaper and other mainstream media, goes like this:

The CIA, searching for bin Laden, was tracking a courier who was said to meet regularly with the terrorist leader. The CIA found out the courier was an online poker player and figured if they could locate where he was playing from, it would lead them to bin Laden. So the Feds busted the three largest online poker rooms in the world, figuring the courier was using one of them, to get the rooms' customer records. After examining the records to see who was playing from Pakistan and Afghanistan, where bin Laden was suspected to be hiding out, the CIA was able to pinpoint the courier's location and find bin Laden and kill him.

Sound far-fetched?

Probably, but we'll never know for sure.

If the CIA did indeed trace online poker records, not to mention bust 11 people to get access to those records, it's not going to admit it.

It might have to do it again to find another terrorist.

"Sources and methods" is how the CIA refers to its process of acquiring information, known as intelligence or "intel" in the spy biz.

And one major rule of the CIA is that it never discloses sources and methods.

So if the CIA did indeed use Internet poker hanky-panky to blow away a terrorist, it would say it didn't.

And if CIA really didn't, it would also say it didn't.

So either way, the CIA, and by extension the U.S. government, would say it didn't happen.

But there still might be a way to tell if there's any truth to the rumor.

If in the next few weeks, the 11 people arrested in the online poker room busts suddenly have all charges dropped against them, that would say something.

Something like: chess isn't the only game with pawns, poker has them too.

By Tom Somach Staff Writer