David Ignatius got an advance look at intel captured during the commando mission that killed Osama bin Laden showing that the al-Qaeda leader continued to plot terrorist attacks even from his hide-in-plain-sight bunker in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The communications from bin Laden, which will shortly be declassified and published in both English and the original Arabic, also shows that the terrorist leader has more in common with another nutcase in a bunker a few decades earlier:
Before his death, Osama bin Laden boldly commanded his network to organize special cells in Afghanistan and Pakistan to attack the aircraft of President Barack Obama and Gen. David Petraeus.
“The reason for concentrating on them,” the al-Qaeda leader explained to his top lieutenant, “is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make (Vice President Joe) Biden take over the presidency. … Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour … and killing him would alter the war’s path” in Afghanistan.
Administration officials said Friday the Obama-Petraeus plot was never a serious threat. …
The man bin Laden hoped would carry out the attacks on Obama and Petraeus was the Pakistani terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri. “Please ask brother Ilyas to send me the steps he has taken into that work,” bin Laden wrote to his top lieutenant, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman. A month after bin Laden’s death, Kashmiri was killed in a U.S. drone attack.
That sequence was likely no accident. The intel picked up from the OBL raid almost certainly gave the US multiple leads in tracking down the rest of the AQ network, although the exposure of the raid might have sent many targets into hiding.
Why was it not a serious threat? AQ lacks the capacity to shoot down aircraft, according to Ignatius’ sources, although their allies in the Taliban have had some success at targeting helicopters in Afghanistan. They probably lacked the manpower to make the attempt as well, thanks to years of American attacks degrading their capabilities. Also, the notion that Joe Biden was “totally unprepared” to be President is another example of a lack of serious understanding of the US. Biden had a lot more experience than Obama did coming into the Oval Office, in domestic and foreign affairs. Biden might not make a good President for other reasons, but it’s not due to a total lack of preparation. If that was the main aim of al-Qaeda, they don’t sound terribly bright.
The intel paints a conflicting image of bin Laden in hiding. It sounds almost like an echo of Adolf Hitler moving phantom armies around Germany from his bunker in the last week of the war, refusing to acknowledge the reality of defeat. However, on another level, the intel Ignatius saw shows bin Laden very much in charge of the network in a hands-on way, much different than the picture painted of him as more of an inspirational leader rather than operational commander.
The AQ terrorist leader also wanted to put together a plan to manipulate the media on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. American traitor Adam Gadahn offered his expertise on the message and the distribution, the latter of which contained a bit of a backward endorsement for Fox News:
“It should be sent for example to ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN and maybe PBS and VOA. As for Fox News let her die in her anger,” Gadahn wrote. At another point, he said of the networks: “From a professional point of view, they are all on one level — except (Fox News) channel, which falls into the abyss as you know, and lacks objectivity, too.”
Ignatius humorously predicts that Fox may adopt “al-Qaeda’s least-favorite network” as a selling point. Be sure to read it all