Royally Kranked

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Usama bin Who?

So was supposed political "genius" Karl Rove even aware of this CIA strategy, and how does it affect his now-discredited "national security" political strategy?

Seriously, what does this say about Rove's attempts to make National Security one of the defining GOP issues for the November elections, and how does he come off as any kind of a "genius" by playing the personal security card when the CIA is shutting down it's bin Laden operation at the same time?

And now, it's official, the Administration shows it's really not that worried about Usama bin Laden's ability to okay another strike against the US anywhere in the world

bypass registration with this Bug Me Not link

C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden

The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.

Yep, nothing says "Taking The Fight To The Terrorists" like closing down the CIA's bin Laden group

The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice "dead or alive."

The realignment reflects a view that Al Qaeda is no longer as hierarchical as it once was, intelligence officials said, and a growing concern about Qaeda-inspired groups that have begun carrying out attacks independent of Mr. bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

No matter how "non-hierarchical" al-Qaeda might be, it seems the height of foolishness to not have "Catch/Kill Usama bin Laden" at the top of the US "To Do" List as it relates to Administrative counter-terrorism efforts

Does bin Laden have to okay another large-scale successful terrorist attack on US Soil before the Administration decides bin Laden's demise is worth another whirl?

All the flowery rhetoric can't whitewash the fact that this Administration is now saying bin Laden isn't worthy of the past efforts this Administration also didn't fully engage in when it had the chance

Agency officials said that tracking Mr. bin Laden and his deputies remained a high priority, and that the decision to disband the unit was not a sign that the effort had slackened. Instead, the officials said, it reflects a belief that the agency can better deal with high-level threats by focusing on regional trends rather than on specific organizations or individuals.

"The efforts to find Osama bin Laden are as strong as ever," said Jennifer Millerwise Dyck, a C.I.A. spokeswoman. "This is an agile agency, and the decision was made to ensure greater reach and focus."

So "greater reach and focus" is best achieved by cutting back on the personnel needed to capture or kill bin Laden

Well, as long as that makes sense to somebody it's obviously not a reality-challenged policy on the part of this Administration

And what a surprise to learn it’s the same final factor that killed off the search for bin Laden that's now killing off the CIA operation as well, the diverting of badly needed resources to the black hole known as the ongoing Iraq Occupation

In recent years, the war in Iraq has stretched the resources of the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, generating new priorities for American officials. For instance, much of the military's counterterrorism units, like the Army's Delta Force, had been redirected from the hunt for Mr. bin Laden to the search for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed last month in Iraq.

Of course that makes perfect sense, after all, how is it not a better policy to break off the search for Mr Big to build up the formerly unknown thug called Abu Musab al-Zarqawi into the next best thing to the actual guy who gave the go ahead for the worst terrorist strike in history

And this is also a recurring action with this Administration-it's quick to discredit CIA intelligence analysts who insist on focusing on bin Laden and his proven ability to stage large-scale terrorist attacks on US soil

Established in 1996, when Mr. bin Laden's calls for global jihad were a source of increasing concern for officials in Washington, Alec Station operated in a similar fashion to that of other agency stations around the globe.

The two dozen staff members who worked at the station, which was named after Mr. Scheuer's son and was housed in leased offices near agency headquarters in northern Virginia, issued regular cables to the agency about Mr. bin Laden's growing abilities and his desire to strike American targets throughout the world.

In his book "Ghost Wars," which chronicles the agency's efforts to hunt Mr. bin Laden in the years before the Sept. 11 attacks, Steve Coll wrote that some inside the agency likened Alec Station to a cult that became obsessed with Al Qaeda.

"The bin Laden unit's analysts were so intense about their work that they made some of their C.I.A. colleagues uncomfortable," Mr. Coll wrote. Members of Alec Station "called themselves 'the Manson Family' because they had acquired a reputation for crazed alarmism about the rising Al Qaeda threat."

On September 11, that alarmism about al-Qaeda suddenly didn't seem quite so "crazed", and calling those analysts "The Manson Family" seems to have done little to prevent the attacks in the first place

If anything, casting aspersions on those intelligence analysts who knew just how serious a threat to the US bin Laden and al-Qaeda were just reinforces the validity of their concern after it was borne out by the September 11 attacks

But of course, this Administration sees successful anti-al Qaeda efforts somewhat differently than logic and reality would suggest

Intelligence officials said Alec Station was disbanded after Robert Grenier, who until February was in charge of the Counterterrorist Center, decided the agency needed to reorganize to better address constant changes in terrorist organizations.

Yeah, wouldn't want those "reorganizations" addressing the one constant for years with al-Qaeda, and that's who's at the very top of the terrorist food chain in that group

Usama bin Laden

Even more's the pity that Comic Book Conservatives-unlike our real comic book President Jr-are the only ones capable of saving New York from a nuclear attack presided over by Usama bin Laden


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