CIA: OBL alive, keeping fit by dodging missiles
posted at 7:00 pm on November 13, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
CIA Director Michael Hayden says that Osama bin Laden remains alive more than seven years after the 9/11 attacks, but that he’s not enjoying it much. American military and intelligence efforts have largely cut him off from his organization, and most of his focus has been on staying alive. Hayden also said that the US has disrupted his plans to attack America on a grand scale:
Osama bin Laden is alive and “putting a lot of energy into his own security,” the director of the CIA, General Michael Hayden, said today.
He also claimed, without providing details, that the US intelligence community had disrupted an attack “that would have rivaled the destruction of 9/11.” …
Without directly referring to the CIA’s offensive blitz of unmanned missile attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan, the CIA boss said the US had successfully isolated the al Qaeda leader bin Laden, referring to him in the present tense.
“He appears to be largely isolated from the day-to-day operations of the organization he leads,” Hayden said in a speech delivered to the Atlantic Council in Washington.
The plot to which Hayden refers got reported on Monday by a London-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Quds al-Arabi. According to their Yemeni source, described as close to senior AQ leadership, the new AQ attack would have eclipsed the scale of the 9/11 attacks and returned AQ to relevance. Hayden appears to confirm that in this speech, which should remind everyone that al-Qaeda still poses a threat to the US.
According to ABC, a debate has broken out among the Obama transition team about Hayden. They like his performance and his efforts to rescue the CIA, and they want to retain some continuity in the war effort. Others on Team Obama feel that they cannot have Hayden remain, though, because of his connections to the warrantless surveillance and controversial interrogation techniques, even though those haven’t been in play since 2003. Since Obama himself voted to support the surveillance compromise, that doesn’t seem like as big a hurdle as this report paints it.
I’d expect Hayden to be asked to resign within a short period after the inauguration. Who will they tap to replace him? Richard Clarke?
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