In all, the U.S. government would have access to more than a million documents detailing al Qaeda’s funding, training, personnel, and future plans. The raid promised to be a turning point in America’s war on terror, not only because it eliminated al Qaeda’s leader, but also because the materials taken from his compound had great intelligence value. Analysts and policymakers would no longer need to depend on the inherently incomplete picture that had emerged from the piecing together of disparate threads of intelligence—collected via methods with varying records of success and from sources of uneven reliability. The bin Laden documents were primary source material, providing unmediated access to the thinking of al Qaeda leaders expressed in their own words.
A comprehensive and systematic examination of those documents could give U.S. intelligence officials—and eventually the American public—a better understanding of al Qaeda’s leadership, its affiliates, its recruitment efforts, its methods of communication; a better understanding, that is, of the enemy America has fought for over a decade now, at a cost of trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives.
Incredibly, such a comprehensive study—a thorough “document exploitation,” in the parlance of the intelligence community—never took place. The Weekly Standard has spoken to more than two dozen individuals with knowledge of the U.S. government’s handling of the bin Laden documents. And on that, there is widespread agreement.
“They haven’t done anything close to a full exploitation,” says Derek Harvey, a former senior intelligence analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency and ex-director of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).
“A full exploitation? No,” he says. “Not even close. Maybe 10 percent.”
More at the Weekly Standard
We were lied to by this administration for political gain? Say it isn’t so.
@another vet: I am finding that it is much harder to believe that any thing this administration say is true. In the IRS scandal 5 more people lost their emails. I have been emailing since the late 1980s and have not lost one email.
It depends on what “on the run” means.
@Randy: The only time they really ever told the truth, other than when they make claim to want to fundamentally transform the U.S., is when they told us that Iraq was stable and a success. Then their brain dead supporters blamed Bush for the ensuing chaos brought about by their messiah’s ineptness or secret desire to have Iraq fail. With that being said, as long as they have willing sheep who worship the ground they walk on, they will continue to lie especially when there are no consequences.