After news broke of the successful operation to take out Anwar al-Awlaki, I wrote that this event might be more operationally important than the strike on Osama bin Laden’s compound. It’s easy to see that as counterintuitive, and Rep. Peter King among others disputed that observation from other media sources. CNN’s Candy Crowley interviewed former deputy director of national intelligence John Miller about which mission will have the most impact on America’s national security — and Miller thinks it will be the Awlaki strike:
AQAP had become the most virulent arm of al-Qaeda in the past few years, and it was Awlaki who provided the inspiration for the most difficult of terrorists to find and stop — the home-grown jihadis, like the Times Square bomber and Nidal Hasan, among others. Getting both Awlaki and Samir Khan interrupts a network that not only recruited terrorists but repeatedly demonstrated its ability to launch operations against the US, including inside the US, something that bin Laden’s group failed to accomplish after 9/11. AQAP isn’t destroyed by this strike, but their best assets against the US have been and are not likely to be replaced. Getting bin Laden was a much bigger psychological coup, but Awlaki’s removal does more to make the US safer.