Posts tagged with Cia
Reporters covering the investigation of the major al Qaeda victory at Benghazi should ask themselves: "what would Walter Cronkite do" if he were covering the story.
Let's consider the facts. Most people familiar with the War on Terror knew in September, 2012, that there was a heightened risk of an al Qaeda attack in the U.S. or at American installations outside the U.S. on or about the anniversary of the original 9/11 attack.
The danger was particularly high at American facilities in Libya because of the very unstable situation there and the presence of al Qaeda personnel who were trying to take over the country. Military and CIA personnel in Libya should have been on a high state of alert and prepared to back up personnel at any facility that might be attacked. Their orders should have been to respond immediately to any attack without requesting authorization from Washington. Security should have been particularly tight in Benghazi with the Ambassador in the building.
With modern cell phone technology, personnel should have been calling the State Department as they took cover, grabbed weapons, etc. Both the Secretary of State and President should have been notified immediately. State Department protocol should have required the Secretary, or least the top undersecretary for the region, to monitor the situation using both audio and video from the site, possibly using devices such as smart phones . If a satellite was in position to monitor the situation someone in Washington should have monitored its video. Keep in mind the government has better quality cameras than Google on its satellites.
The Obama administration's initial claim that the facility fell to a rag tag mob of demonstrators implies the facility essentially had no security. Any decent security protocol should have been prepared for the type of attack that Iranian students had used to take over the American embassy in Tehran during the Carter administration. An attack by trained military personnel would have been more easily explained, although security personnel should have been prepared to handle such an attack.
Determining the significance of the successful al Qaeda attack is difficult because of the nature of the War on Terror. Significant battles haven't involved large groups. Although the American casualty toll in the 9/11 attack was high, barely a dozen men conducted the attack. A similar sized American force killed Osama bin Laden. Much of the killing by both sides is done by remote control. Americans use aerial drones. Al Qaeda uses road side bombs.
The attack is at least as significant as the temporary Viet Cong capture of the American embassy in Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive. The attack indicates that al Qaeda has successfully broadened the war and is now able to defeat the Americans in Libya and possibly elsewhere. The size of the victory isn't as important as the fact that the attack was an al Qaeda victory. Al Qaeda may not be "winning" the war yet, but as a football sportscaster might say, al Qaeda "has taken the momentum", as demonstrated by the recent successful bombing of the Boston Marathon. Al Qaeda can use its success as a recruitment argument.
The failure of the Americans to come to the rescue during the attack could be interpreted by al Qaeda as proving bin Laden was right when he said the Americans would eventually tire of the fighting.
Walter Cronkite began questioning the American handling of the Vietnam after the attack on the American Embassy in Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive. I'm sure he would have asked questions about the War on Terror after the fall of the American consulate in Benghazi, particularly considering the allegations that someone in Washington prevented sending a rescue force. Cronkite knew that Presidents are sometimes mislead by their subordinates and it is the duty of journalists to learn the truth.
President Barack Obama suffers from the delusion that there must have been some massive conspiracy to hide Osama bin Laden from the U.S.
President Barack Obama apparently thinks that the fact that he needed an army of attorneys to keep his stupid birth certificate secret means that bin Laden must have had a large group helping him stay hidden. Or, maybe Obama doesn't believe that an Arab could be smart enough to hide from the U.S. without help, even an Arab smart enough to be responsible for the 9/11 attack. .
Obama should know better because the CIA has already said that the most any of the al Qaeda members they captured knew was that there was some mysterious courier who might have direct access to bin Laden. If bin Laden didn't trust members of his own organization with his hiding place, why would he trust Pakistani government agencies which he certainly was aware could have been infiltrated by agents working for the CIA or other intelligence agencies particularly Mossad (Israel) and MI6 (Britain) .
There is a claim that India's RAW and Mossad have combined efforts to infiltrate Pakistan government agencies. Even if a foreign agent didn't learn where he was hiding, someone in the government might have found the $25 million reward too tempting to pass up.
Any ability al Qaeda might have to obtain inside information from Pakistani agencies would not be the same as those agencies helping al Qaeda anymore than an ability to obtain inside information from American agencies would indicate those agencies were helping al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda likely has agents planted in governments in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as on some NATO bases in Afghanistan, much like the Viet Cong had agents planted in the South Vietnamese government and on American bases during the Vietnam War. If al Queda/Taliban can plant potential suicide bombers on American base they can plant spies. In Vietnam, the Viet Cong often had radios capable of eavesdropping on American radio traffic.
The Wikileaks situation demonstrates that the Obama administration has poor information security. The administration has alleged that an army PFC in Iraq was able to place documents on the web he should not have been able to access. The leaking of the fact that the U.S. was attempting to track bin Laden's cell phone in 2001 came from Americans rather than Pakistanis.
If Pakistani agencies were supposedly helping bin Laden stay hidden what were they doing while the SEALS were at his compound. Military or intelligence officials would have been aware of the possibility of Americans coming in by helicopter.
Why wasn't the compound surrounded by command detonated mines in case that happened? Why wasn't someone in a protected position with a weapon capable of disabling a helicopter? Why, in a military area well inside Pakistan, didn't his "protectors" call for a force to keep the Americans from leaving?
The ease with which the SEALS got in and out indicates that bin Laden had no support from individuals in the Pakistan government. If Pakistan's forces were involved their role was to allow the Americans to leave without interference while pretending to be unaware of what was happening.
Obama cannot understand the obvious fact that the best way to keep something secret is to limit the number of people who know the secret. If you had a $25 million buried treasure that you didn't want someone else to dig up, you wouldn't tell anyone you had any doubts about, particularly strangers in a government agency.
Many fiction writers recognize that keeping locations secret involves limiting who knows the location. On the old "Batman" tv series even Batgirl and the police commissioner didn't know the location of the bat cave. Limiting who knows a secret hideout reduces the chances of someone inadvertently revealing the location or revealing the location under torture. One way to get someone to reveal a hideout is to trick him into going to the hideout while he's being followed.
Bin Laden's choice of a hiding place was brilliant. The last place anyone would expect to find him would be in an area away from his supporters. Living in a mansion sized compound would create the impression that the occupant was wealthy, possibly with a fear of being robbed or kidnapped, or someone involved with drugs or smuggling.
The presence of cannabis plants in the area would be consistent with a drug dealer as the resident of the compound. The media have referred to the plants as marijuana, but they were more likely being grown for production of hashish which has been used in the Middle East for centuries. Marco Polo and others suggested it was used by members of the Medieval Order of Assassins from which al Qaeda is descended.
Osama bin Laden probably wasn't familiar with American masked avengers but his choice of accommodations is similar to Batman and Zorro. When Batman wasn't running around catching criminals he was the liberal wealthy philanthropist Bruce Wayne. When Zorro wasn't riding around carving a "Z" with his sword he was wealthy foppish Don Diego de la Vega.