-Attorney General, Eric Holder, March 16, 2010
President Obama may have felt squeamish about the belly slap and facial holds implemented by the CIA on 30% of the 100 or so graduates of the CIA program (that gave us upward of 60% of what we learned about al Qaeda), including the 3 waterboardees, but he certainly has no qualms over the killing of 400-500 militants, along with those civilians unfortunate enough to have been in the vicinity of Drone attacks. The latest to bite the dust is Hussein al-Yemeni, an al Qaeda trainer believed to have had a role to play in the suicide bombing that killed 7 CIA officers (Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud who claimed credit as well may or may not be dead from a previous strike).
Killing Mr. al-Yemeni was very important to the CIA because of his status in al Qaeda and his involvement in the Khost attack, Mr. Panetta said. Mr. Panetta didn’t speak directly to the circumstances of the death; the CIA doesn’t discuss covert action.
“Anytime we get a high value target that is in the top leadership of al Qaeda, it seriously disrupts their operations,” Mr. Panetta said. “It sent two important signals,” Mr. Panetta said. “No. 1 that we are not going to hesitate to go after them wherever they try to hide, and No. 2 that we are continuing to target their leadership.”
No tears shed, certainly. And I’m glad for the parts of the Bush-era counter-terrorism programs that President Obama has chosen to retain. However, criticism persists that the Obama approach is to kill over capture.
But the CIA’s success in Pakistan comes with risks. The intensified focus on killing al Qaeda militants worries a number of CIA veterans, who say the agency is doing the military’s most risky legwork while neglecting the agency’s core mission, which is to collect secrets that help forecast emerging threats overseas.
“Allowing the agency to do what I think is a military job is ridiculous,” said Margaret Henoch, a former senior CIA official, who added that there is no reason the Defense Intelligence Agency can’t be responsible for tactical intelligence operations.
Meanwhile, others worry that the administration will become over-reliant on the drone program because it produces tangible results. “There’s no question in my mind this is disrupting and hurting the enemy badly, but at the same time, you don’t win this way,” said Michael Hurley, a former CIA counterterrorism official.
The problem is that Obama is increasingly using drone strikes as a substitute for operations to bring terrorist leaders in alive for questioning — and that is putting the country at risk. As one high-ranking CIA official explained to me, in an interview for my book Courting Disaster, “In the wake of 9/11, [the CIA] put forward a program that had a lethal component to strike back at the people who did this. But the other component was to prevent this kind of catastrophe from happening again. And for that, killing people — especially killing senior al Qaeda leaders — is potentially counterproductive in that we can’t know or learn of future attacks. You can’t kill them all, and you don’t want to kill them all from an intelligence standpoint. We needed to know what they knew.”
In the years after the 9/11 attacks, the CIA worked with Pakistani and other intelligence services to hunt down senior terrorist leaders and take them in for interrogation. Among those captured were men like Abu Zubaydah, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ammar al-Baluchi, Walid bin Attash, Riduan Isamuddin (aka “Hambali”), Bashir bin Lap, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Abu Faraj al-Libbi, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, and others. In all, about 100 terrorists were detained and questioned by the CIA. And the information they provided helped break up terrorist cells that were planning to blow up the U.S. Consulate in Karachi and the U.S. Marine camp in Djibouti; explode seven airplanes flying across the Atlantic from London to cities in North America; and fly hijacked airplanes into Heathrow Airport, London’s financial district, and the Library Tower in Los Angeles.
Today, the Obama administration is no longer attempting to capture men like these alive; it is simply killing them. This may be satisfying, but it comes at a price. With every drone strike that vaporizes a senior al Qaeda leader, actionable intelligence is vaporized along with him. Dead terrorists can’t tell you their plans to strike America.
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.
Thank You WS, for your insight into a complex problem, a problem that is complicated by the enigma that occupies the White House. What can we expect from a man who erupts into the public consciousness in a cloud of closely guarded secrecy. We the public were to assume that he had the mental capabilities and personality to handle the role of President: he had never been tested, but according to the press and the fact that he was presumably a Black, he was indeed competent. What a disaster he has been, to befall our country in wartime.
While I have no problem vaporizing any terrorist, I do have a problem with a government that prefers to shoot and forget rather than to confront the enemy head-on. Let us not forget the previous Democrat president’s favorite action against aggressors or firing a missile or two, even at empty factories, and calling the attacks against us revenged.
There was an article out a couple of weeks ago, the author suggested that Pakistan is cooperating with us because of money promised during the Kerry visit. When the #2 Taliban leader was captured he said it was because he was no longer useful to Pakistan, that he had been cooperating with Karzai for a long time and at that point our new HIG hadn’t bothered to question him, strange? Pakistan is feeding us selective information, we then bomb them to smitherenes along with whoever is unlucky enough to be around the target, Pakistan gets rid of whoever they deem to be unhelpful to them.
If only the CIA were able to interrogate these targets, we might find out just how trustworthy Pakistan is.
There are two things going on here: 1) in the absence of legal interrogation practices, in an environment where the mere suggestion of gathering intelligence from captured enemy combatants is not only a violation of their Mirandized rights (and all the protections of our Constitution, despite their lack of citizenship in our country, or even their physical presence IN our country), indeed where such an interrogation is likely to leave the interrogator with fewer civil rights than the captured terrorist, there is little or no incentive to capture anyone.
The downside of this, of course is: 2) when our enemies know that surrender is no longer accepted, they have no choice but to fight to the death. The Japanese leadership in WW2 used terrifying lies about America’s treatment of POW’s to keep any of the Japanese soldiers from surrendering even in the face of overwhelming force. As a result, we fought some of the bloodiest battles of the war, and even faced post-war insurgencies because the remaining Japanese forces were so afraid of what would happen to them if they stood down that they chose instead to fight to the death.
Taking no prisoners will cause our enemies to fight harder and more stoically than they would if they knew we would accept their surrender. However, putting our soldiers in a position where they must read Miranda rights and collect forensic evidence in order to “convict” a captured enemy combatant in a federal court, where we will convict OUR SOLDIERS of war crimes if they try to extract useful information from that captive, gives our solders little choice but to kill instead of capture.
There’s been a big change in the war with Zero. And a lot of posturing. So what’s the truth now?
We took some soldiers out of Iraq, but there’s some noise about security and that == leave/increase troops; too early to say we’ve left.
We sent more soldiers to Afghanistan, and for them our strategy is to be as friendly and community building as possible, considering the utter lack of loyalty in that part of the world.
Musharraf left and since Zero came, we have been bumping off terrorists at a rapid clip. Why?
ISI — what is their game? Without their cooperation it seems we wouldn’t be getting Pakistan cleaned out. Perhaps without Musharraf they’ve been able to get along better with the military, who knows.
Our soldiers are conveniently deployed now on both sides of Iran, and are quickly wiping out the AQ/Taliban who would be on their rear flank if we got into a fight with Iran.
On the other flank (west of Iraq) all is chaos as usual and we are waiting for election results.
It just causes one furiously to think about Zero’s past connections with Pakistan, which go back really to when Zbiggy was helping found Al Queda so that the USSR would have an intractible border war. Clever and effective but now that strategy came back to bite us. Thanks, Carter, you gave Zbiggy to Zero as a mentor. There was that mysterious visit to Pakistan by Zero during that period, and also Stanley Ann was working there, and there was the Paki roommate, and the “Pockeeston.” Those were formative and probably very social years for the Resident. When I first saw a picture of Zbiggy and Osama Bin Laden checking over a gun, I got a very bad feeling about enthusiastically anti-American youth of the day, being in Pakistan with them.
Holder’s quip about reading Miranda to Obama’s corpse (did he pronounce it “core”) indicates that this Administration finds it easier to kill terrrorists than detain, interrogate and process them through a judicial process. Why is that? The Bush Administration bent over backwards to develop and implement fair and humane treatment of these terrorist monsters while still getting the high value intelligence necessary to save American lives. Yet it was idiots like Holder and Obama who were Bush Administration critics doing everything they could to undermine that very process over which they now have charge.
As multiple analysts have pointed out it is American security that suffers. But then, many of us also pointed that out at the time Obama and Holder were undermining successful Bush policies.
Maybe we could just make them clean up the manure Obama’s been spreading the last year. That ought to keep them busy for the next century.
Killing the enemy protects Obama’s past in Pakistan. Allowing the wrong prisoner to be interrogated could expose some of that murky past that Obama fights to keep hidden here in America. Why else is he so anxious to Mirandize every prisoner and move them to a Marxist ACLU lawyer. These top guys might spill the beans on Obama’s un-American activities and connections. He has stuff to hide, the enemy knows what he is hiding; you better believe he wants them killed, water boarding will get the skeletons dancing out of the closet, something the man child cannot afford to have happen or he will be wearing an orange jumpsuit. Of course if they have an ally in the White House and as the Head of the Justice Department they are unlikely to spill the beans, unless you use something like water boarding. He has turned the soft hearted nature of America back on itself so that america is destroying itself with Obama’s false feeling of compassion for “captured enemy criminals” but a cold hearted disregard of innocents and children that are destroyed in his drone attacks. How convenient this shapes up for him, either kill them or protect them; but no way in Hell do we want any inside information available to the CIA or the American Public.
He is hiding his past, he can’t carry out his agenda to destroy America if Americans know the truth about this man. He cannot afford to have his past leak out, that will be the end of his little charade, and compromise his mission. People don’t lock up their past unless they are trying to hide their past; refusing to allow enhanced interrogation techniques on known war criminals while being cavalier about civilian deaths that result from killing important targets that can save American lives through interrogation is not the thinking of a rational man, it is the thinking of a criminal mind. This man is either a criminal or a nut case, I personally think he is a criminal who is plotting the destruction of America while in league with the enemy. He sweats ever day, worrying over the possibility of being exposed as an enemy agent.
This man is a traitor and is guilty of treason; Holder protects him at every turn and is just as guilty as Obama. You cannot keep this hidden forever, eventually the truth will emerge and that will be the end of the greatest hoax and fraud ever committed upon the United States.
His secretiveness is remarkable. Hardly any public figure has hidden so much yet said so many suggestive things about his past; they can’t be nailed down as facts many times, but it gives color to the narrative. After 2 years both watching him and (unrelated) writing fiction as a job, I’ve come to see that. It’s quite a good trick, really. People think they know all about him. But when people catch him off guard and want details or contradict him, he stumbles every time. Another indication that his life is a fraud, he has to scramble for his cover story.
Now I first really paid attention to him late in 2007. I was researching conspiracy theories for a plot. AntiChrist, there’s O. Osama connection, there’s O. NWO, O again. NOI and their black-white messiah, guess who. And many others, including CIA agent and rogue faction CIA agent. The most bizarre, yet still credible, was the Hawaiian royalty/land grab plot. Even the birthers have at least 3 good scenarios for foreign birth, or birth in Hawaii but still ineligible (because he really is 2 years older than he claims). This is incredible. No one has ever been accused of so much plotting. No one else has managed to be on so many sides at once. Whenever we see this era from the future, it is going to be like a Tolstoy epic with Dickensian characters (he had a lot of great villains).
But the Pakistan thing is definitely strange. Now bunker busters are going to Diego Garcia, apparently, and the Taliban have a clear supply link from Iran, along the Pakistan border.
Pat, the Antichrist called and he’s really torqued about folks drawing comparisons between Obama and him. He said Obama is giving all the antichrists a bad name.
DAVEY very funny A GOOD LAUGH thank’s i needed that.
I myself think he’s the false prophet who speaks for the Beast, and Pelosi is the great whore of Babylon. She does wear red a lot. Hopefully we will get to see the predicted end.