As the nation's prepares to mark the sixth anniversary of the most deadly terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, the country still has yet to track down the whereabouts of the mastermind and orchestrator of the attacks, Osama bin Laden.
A tape released earlier this week provides the best and perhaps only proof that Bin Laden still is alive. It was his first video message in almost three years.
And despite a $50 million bounty on his head and nearly $1 billion in U.S. aid to Pakistan, there has been little progress hunting in the tribal areas since 2001.
"Bin Laden has gone off the net," said ABC consultant Dick Clarke, America's former counterterror czar. "He's gone off the grid. Messages that are brought to him go through six, eight couriers."
Many believe bin Laden sought refuge in the mountainous border region of Pakistan.
Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, who President George Bush said is an important ally in the war on terror, has come under heavy criticism by an increasingly vocal political opposition. Critics say Musharraf's policies have led to an increase in the number of Taliban operatives in the region who support al Qaeda.
"Our president, who is not known for his intellect or his skills, thinks he can alone plan a strategy in a very complex country to challenge Talibinization or religious extremism all by himself," said Pakistani human rights lawyer Asma Jangahir.
Many blame the Pakistan army's heavy-handed tactics for making enemies of the tribesman, citing last week's incident where 300 soldiers were taken hostage by militants who are demanding the military pull out.
The tragic irony is despite U.S. claims of a robust search effort, $10 billion of aid to Pakistan and an aggressive search by American troops on the Afghan side of the border, all efforts so far may have only served to insulate and maybe even embolden, bin Laden and al Qaeda.
"Bin Laden is not only alive, he is once again a threat to the United States," Clarke said.
Bin Laden's former security guard reportedly has said the United States came very close to finding bin Laden in Afghanistan in 2004.
U.S. intelligence knows he walked into Pakistan in 2001. They just don't know what has happened since then.