Thursday, November 18, 2004

Mike Scheuer 

The former head of the CIA's Bin Laden Unit goes one-on- one with Peter Jennings. Some highlights:

Jennings: Because that's where two of the holy places are located.

Scheuer: And the homeland of the prophets, sir. It's the first holiest place in Islam. With the war in Iraq, we now occupy the second holiest place in Islam. And with the Israelis holding Jerusalem, they occupy the third holiest place. So in a sense, we have managed to portray ourselves as the "invaders of Islamic sanctities."

Jennings: When we, at the media, get a tape of Osama bin Laden, we always look for the headline. I'd like to know, when you see the tape, what do you look for?

Scheuer: This is the fourth time Osama bin Laden has talked directly to the American people, saying, "It really doesn't matter if President Bush or Mr. Kerry are elected, if the policies don't change. I know you live in a democracy. I know that you elect the leader. And if you don't like his policies, you elect a new leader. And we will only take it as an act of war, if you again elect a leader, who doesn't change his policies regarding the Islamic world."

Jennings: So what can we, either collectively or in terms of government, learn from this?

Scheuer: I think one thing we can learn is that he is truly a man of his word. The single most important thing to understand the enemy we face is to review what he said since 1995, because his actions have tracked exactly with his words. If he was a politician in the United States, the Democrats or the Republicans would love him, because he stays on message. He never slips from it. He is entirely reliable in what he is going to say.

Jennings: I think you are saying that it's not an enemy that's really defeatable.

Scheuer: I think you are exactly right. The choice, at the moment, is between war and endless war. And I think we need to devise a strategy that combines the work of the intelligence services and the U.S. military with a discussion — at least a democratic discussion within the United States — about whether the policies that have been identified as "amicable to Muslims," still serve U.S. interests.

Now this is a guy that every Western government should be listening to. He's been profiling Bin Laden since the 1980's, and probably knows more about Bin Laden than anyone else. But of course, he resigned from the CIA because of the Agency's leadership. He's not too fond of Porter Goss cleaning house either.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?