Al Qaeda's jailbreak in Iraq: A counterterrorism nightmare

U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity say the jailbreaks last Sunday in Abu Ghraib and Taji present a counterterrorism and intelligence nightmare. “We just lost track of everyone we didn’t kill who was in al Qaeda during the surge,” one U.S. intelligence analyst said.

While the United States still launches non-lethal drones and other kinds of aircraft from Turkey to gather intelligence on Iraq, the sheer number of people who escaped in the dramatic jailbreak have overwhelmed U.S. analysts. “We don’t have the analysts or the human source networks to track these guys,” the U.S. intelligence analyst said. The source added that most of the Iraq analysts have been reassigned to other areas since the United States withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2011…

“The more we look at this jailbreak, the more catastrophic it appears to be,” said Doug Olivant, a senior vice president of Mantid International, an international consulting firm that does business in Iraq, and the National Security Council director for Iraq at the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of President Obama’s first term. “This will regenerate al Qaeda in Iraq networks at the mid- and senior levels. What this means for both its operations in Syria and its continuing campaign against Iraqi civilians we will see over the next year, but it will certainly be bad.”