Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Wed

18

Jul

2007

Bush Dropping the Ball on Al Qaeda
Wednesday, 18 July 2007 12:41
by Larry C. Johnson

Today’s release of the unclassified summary of the National Intelligence Estimate, Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland, is a black eye for the Bush Administration propaganda campaign that Iraq is making America safer. Despite White House efforts to persuade the public that we are vanquishing Al Qaeda, the intelligence community sees things differently. It is the equivalent of George Bush trying to pass off a pig wearing lipstick as a foxy debutante, but frantic spin notwithstanding the naked critter is still a pig.

Here are the two critical key judgments from the estimate:

We assess the group has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability, including: a safehaven in the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), operational lieutenants, and its top leadership. We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to enhance its capabilities to attack the Homeland through greater cooperation with regional terrorist groups.

Of note, we assess that al-Qa’ida will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland. In addition, we assess that its association with AQI helps al-Qa’ida to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks.
It is important to understand that work on this NIE started in April; so it is not reflecting new, startling intelligence. The Senators and Representatives with access to the classified portions of the NIE need to ask some tough questions. For starters, what is the evidence that Al Qaeda has “regenerated” its ability to attack the continental United States? I am skeptical of this claim because we have witnessed a marked decline in mass casualty terrorist attacks outside of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006.

Set aside the Bush Administration rhetoric on terrorism and look at its actions. In November 2001, when Osama Bin Laden was surrounded in Tora Bora, the CIA officer leading the charge, Gary Berntsen, called for reinforcements to finish off the Al Qaeda Chief. General Tommy Franks and General Dell Dailey turned him down. Bin Laden escaped.

Several recent books, including Woodward’s State of Denial, document that George Bush directed Secretary of Defense to start planning the invasion of Iraq in October of 2001. The focus on Iraq took Al Qaeda off of the hook.

George Bush and his apologists keep insisting that we are fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq. While there are individuals in Iraq who would consider themselves affiliated in some fashion with Bin Laden, the fact is that most of the violence is sectarian in nature and has little to do with Al Qaeda. I was in Iraq a year ago with the special operations forces who are devoting their energies to tracking down and killing AQ operatives. Despite a steady body count and capture of suspects, the overall level of violence in Iraq has continued to rise. In other words, success in killing and capturing suspected AQ operatives is having no effect on stemming the rise in violence.

Why is Bin Laden and his number two, Ayman Zawahair, still running free? The answer is pretty simple–the Bush Administration has not made their capture or elimination a priority. Here we are approaching the six year anniversary of the 9-11 attacks and there still is no one in charge of hunting down the Al Qaeda leaders. CIA is working the issue as are U.S. special operations forces. But the full panoply of the U.S. Government’s resources have not been marshaled nor organized. If you are going to have a Czar in the White House then for my money it ought to be a “Where in the World is Osama” Czar.

The folks ostensibly responsible for coordinating the counter terrorism effort–Fran Townsend and her clumsy deputy, Juan Zarate–are over their heads and incapable of swimming in deep water. I have no personal animus against either, but good friends throughout the national security bureaucracy describe the two of them as incompetent. Someone is supposed to harness the energy of the CIA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the Department of State and create a coherent strategy. But they have failed to do so and no one else has stepped into the void. Therefore we should not be surprised that Al Qaeda reportedly is thriving in the Federally Administered Tribal Area of Pakistan.

Check out whitehouse.gov. Terrorism is not listed as one of the key focus issues on the left side of the page. That speaks volumes. George Bush does not get briefed every morning on the status of the hunt for Bin Laden. Knowledgeable friends still on the inside tell me that he is not demanding progress reports. Finding Bin Laden is not a priority issue for Bush.

Perhaps George Bush needs to go back and review his notes from Harvard Business School. Set a goal, organize the necessary resources to accomplish the goal, and make it a priority. But as Al Qaeda regenerates what is President Bush going to do? He has his August vacation in Crawford to worry about. That is his true priority.

More from this author:
Gee Whiz, Iran Training Militia, Who Knew? (7105 Hits)
by Larry C Johnson Well, the New York Times just got sucked in again to help the Bush Administration make the case for starting a war with...
Swearing on the Quran? (6088 Hits)
by Larry C Johnson Normally I ignore religious controversy, but the latest flap surrounding incoming Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison, a...
A Soldier's Story - MAJOR BILL EDMONDS (7901 Hits)
by MAJOR BILL EDMONDS [Note from Larry Johnson: A CIA buddy forwarded this article. It is a must read. It is consistent...
The Iraq Catch-22 (5567 Hits)
by Larry C Johnson Regardless of your feelings or beliefs about sending more U.S troops to Iraq, you must accept the painful truth that...
Three Must Reads (4742 Hits)
by Larry C Johnson The mainstream media has finally caught up and fleshed out some important issues regarding Iraq that I wrote about on...
Related Articles:
The Bush Magical Mystery Political Capital Tour (9943 Hits)
The Bush War Cabinet is invoking the memory of 9/11 as justification for their systematic shredding of constitutional and human...
Why Bush wants immunity from prosecution for war crimes (239207 Hits)
Although not as widely remarked as the elimination of habeas rights and the consecration of torture, the recently passed Senate torture legislation...
You and What Army? Bush Legions Starting to "Unravel" (11986 Hits)
Is it possible the largest and most advanced military in the history of the universe is ready to bust? According to General Barry McCaffrey (ret.)...
"Boiling Point" - Eroding Freedom: From John Adams to George W. Bush (13277 Hits)
Put a frog into a pot of boiling water, the well-known parable begins, and out that frog will jump to escape the obvious danger. Put that same...
Why Bush Smiles: Victory is at Hand in Iraq (11987 Hits)
Despite George W. Bush's ostentatious bucking up of the Iraqi government yesterday, it is very likely that there will indeed be an...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (1)add comment

a guest said:

0
9/11 was STAGED.
9/11 was STAGED. 9/11/2001, Pentagon. Where is the Boeing 757-sized hole? In fact, where is the Boeing 757? - http://i12.tinypic.com/6c7rm6t.jpg
 
July 18, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top