TERRORISM

2011

Materials presented chronologically.

U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Joseph I. Lieberman, Chairman, and Susan M. Collins, Ranking Member. "'A Ticking Time Bomb': Counterterrorism Lessons from the U.S. Government's Failure to Prevent the Fort Hood Attack." 3 Feb. 2011. Available at: http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/_files/Fort_Hood/FortHoodReport.pdf.

From "Executive Summary": "Our basic conclusion is as follows: Although neither DoD nor the FBI had specific information concerning the time, place, or nature of the [5 November 2009] attack, they collectively had sufficient information to have detected [Army Maj. Nidal Malik] Hasan's radicalization to violent Islamist extremism but failed both to understand and to act on it. Our investigation found specific and systemic failures in the government's handling of the Hasan case and raises additional concerns about what may be broader systemic issues."

Sheridan, Mary Beth, and Joby Warrick. "Mubarak Resignation Throws into Question U.S.-Egyptian Counterterrorism Work." Washington Post, 13 Feb. 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak puts into question the future of the decades-long cooperation between U.S. and Egyptian intelligence agencies in counterterrorism operations. "Some U.S. officials and analysts say they are not overly worried, noting the continued strong role of the Egyptian military and the fact that the United States gives Egypt more than $1.3 billion a year in military aid." Robert Grenier, former head of the CIA's counterterrorism center and now chairman of the consulting firm of ERG Partners, "predicted the relationship would continue even if the Muslim Brotherhood controlled the next government."

Latek, Maciej M., Seyed M. Mussavi Rizi, and Tariq A. Alsheddi. "Optimal Blends of History and Intelligence for Robust Antiterrorism Policy." Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 8, no. 1 (2011).

From abstract: "We show that history is a valuable source of information when the terrorist organization evolves and acquires new capabilities at such a rapid pace that makes optimal strategies advocated by game-theoretic reasoning unlikely to succeed."

Rucker, Philip, Scott Wilson, and Anne E. Kornblut. "Osama bin Laden Is Killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan." Washington Post, 2 May 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"Osama bin Laden ... was killed by U.S. forces [on 1 May 2011] in what officials described as a surgical raid on his luxury hideout in Pakistan.... In a rare Sunday night address from the East Room of the White House, President Obama said a small team of U.S. personnel attacked a compound Sunday in Pakistan's Abbottabad Valley.... During a firefight, [the] U.S. team killed bin Laden, 54, and took custody of his body." On 2 May 2011, "the Associated Press and CNN, each citing a senior administration official, reported that bin Laden's body had been buried at sea." Clark comment: All major national newspapers led with the story of bin Laden death on 2 May 2011.

Ambinder, Marc. "The Secret Team That Killed bin Laden." National Journal, 2 May 2011. [http://nationaljournal.com]

The Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden on 1 May 2011 belong to "SEAL Team Six, officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, but known even to the locals at their home base Dam Neck in Virginia as just DevGru." DevGru is part of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). The "operation provides strong evidence that the CIA and JSOC work well together." JSOC's "size has tripled since 9/11. The command now includes more than 4,000 soldiers and civilians. It has its own intelligence division,... and has gobbled up a number of free-floating Defense Department entities that allowed it to rapidly acquire, test, and field new technologies."

Calabresi, Massimo. "The CIA Gets a Rare Public Victory." Time, 2 May 2011. [http://swampland.time.com]

"As the news of Osama bin Laden's death moves ... to accepted reality, one group in the U.S. government will emerge as key to the win: the Central Intelligence Agency. From the earliest identification of a Bin Laden courier, the pursuit of leads, the assessment of evidence and the execution of the raid in Abottabad, Pakistan, the CIA can rightly claim the most credit for finding and killing the world's most wanted terrorist."

Calabresi, Massimo. "CIA Chief Breaks Silence: Pakistan Would Have Jeopardized bin Laden Raid, 'Impressive' Intel Captured." Time, 3 May 2011. [http://swampland.time.com]

"In his first interview since commanding the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, CIA chief Leon Panetta tells TIME that U.S. officials feared that Pakistan could have undermined the operation by leaking word to its targets. Long before Panetta ordered Vice Admiral William McRaven, head of the Joint Special Forces Command, to undertake the mission..., the CIA had been gaming out how to structure the raid."

Dozier, Kimberly, and Robert Burns. "Bin Laden Raid Shows Blur Between Military and Intelligence: Who's a Soldier, Who's a Spy?" Associated Press, 5 May 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"Navy SEALs carried out what those involved call a textbook military operation that killed ... Osama bin Laden. Yet the man in charge was CIA Director Leon Panetta.... That speaks volumes about the government's rarely noticed post-9/11 melding of military might with intelligence craft.... In the bin Laden mission, the chain of command extended from [President] Obama to Panetta to Navy Adm. William H. McRaven," commander of the military's Joint Special Operations Command. "The military is capable of leading a counterterror operation like the bin Laden raid, but putting the CIA in charge avoided potential controversy over legal questions."

Mazzetti, Mark, and Scott Shane. "Data Show Bin Laden Plots; C.I.A. Hid Near Raided House." New York Times, 5 May 2011. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"The C.I.A. had Bin Laden's compound under surveillance for months before American commandos killed him in an assault" on 1 May 2011. "Observing from behind mirrored glass, C.I.A. officers used cameras with telephoto lenses and infrared imaging equipment to study the compound, and they used sensitive eavesdropping equipment to try to pick up voices from inside the house and to intercept cellphone calls. A satellite used radar to search for possible escape tunnels.... [See also, Greg Miller, "CIA Spied on bin Laden from Safe House." Washington Post, 5 May 2011.]

"The aggressive effort across the intelligence community to translate and analyze the documents seized from the hide-out has as its top priority discovering any clues about terrorist attacks that might be in the works. Intelligence analysts also were scrubbing the files for any information that might lead to identifying the location of Al Qaeda’s surviving leadership." [See also, Joby Warrick, "Al-Qaeda Data Yield Details of Planned Plots," Washington Post, 5 May 2011.]

Rayment, Sean. "SAS to Help US Hunt Down al-Qaeda Leaders." Sunday Telegraph (London), 8 May 2011. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

British Prime Minister David Cameron "has given his approval" for the SAS "to be used beyond Afghanistan in order to 'decapitate' the al-Qaeda leadership. Britain already has counter-terrorist teams located in the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan and in Yemen, where they are responsible for training indigenous troops in counter-insurgency, counter-IED and counter-intelligence techniques."

Bumiller, Elisabeth. "Soldier, Thinker, Hunter, Spy: Drawing a Bead on Al Qaeda." New York Times, 3 Sep. 2011. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The focus here is Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers, who "has risen to become one of the top counterterrorism officials in Washington."

Whitlock, Craig, and Greg Miller. "U.S. Assembling Secret Drone Bases in Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Officials Say." Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, U.S. officials said. One of the installations is being established in Ethiopia.... Another base is in the Seychelles.... The U.S. military also has flown drones over Somalia and Yemen from bases in Djibouti.... In addition, the CIA is building a secret airstrip in the Arabian Peninsula so it can deploy armed drones over Yemen."

Miller, Greg. "Under Obama, an Emerging Global Apparatus for Drone Killing." Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The Obama "administration has built an extensive apparatus for using drones to carry out targeted killings of suspected terrorists and stealth surveillance of other adversaries. The apparatus involves dozens of secret facilities, including two operational hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force cockpits in the Southwest and clandestine bases in at least six countries on two continents....

"The rapid expansion of the drone program has blurred long-standing boundaries between the CIA and the military. Lethal operations are increasingly assembled a la carte, piecing together personnel and equipment in ways that allow the White House to toggle between separate legal authorities that govern the use of lethal force.... The convergence of military and intelligence resources has created blind spots in congressional oversight. Intelligence committees are briefed on CIA operations, and JSOC reports to armed services panels. As a result, no committee has a complete, unobstructed view."

Hersh, Seymour M. "The Killing of Osama bin Laden." London Review of Books, 21 May 2015, 3-12. [Available at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n10/seymour-m-hersh/the-killing-of-osama-bin-laden]

Returning to his Dark Side of Camelot (1997) persona, Hersh cites a single source -- "a retired senior intelligence official" -- for the claim that bin Laden had been an ISI prisoner "since 2006; that [Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, ISI director general] knew of the raid in advance and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms;" that the CIA learned of bin Laden's whereabouts "from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward..., and that, while Obama did order the raid and the Seal team did carry it out, many other aspects of the administration's account were false."

Peter Bergen, CNN, 11 May 2015, builds the case that "Hersh's account of the bin Laden raid is a farrago of nonsense that is contravened by a multitude of eyewitness accounts, inconvenient facts and simple common sense." See also, Alexandra Jaffe, "White House Rejects Seymour Hersh 'Baseless Assertions' on bin Laden Raid," CNN, 11 May 2015; and Dan Lamothe, "'Utter Nonsense': CIA and White House Blast Seymour Hersh's Explosive Osama bin Laden Raid Story," Washington Post, 11 May 2015.

Return to Terrorism 2010s Table of Contents