Osama bin-Laden News Update
Over the past nine years, U.S. intelligence has been stupefied about Osama bin-Laden’s exact location. The American public is told that the long-bearded imam is somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistani border, a remote and mountainous area that is virtually impossible to navigate by foot without a full military battalion. Others believe that he is hiding in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier, the same region that is routinely bombarded by American bombs on a weekly basis.
Well apparently, we have some new information to report. According to Newsweek’s Declassified, the world’s number one terrorist is not only alive and well, but is also under firm and direct control over Al’Qaeda operations. And who is the informant providing this info? None other than a low-level Al’Qaeda foot soldier who has been talking with the FBI for months, Raja Lharsib Khan. Never mind that Khan is providing the FBI with basic information of questionable validity:
“Contrary to some intelligence reports…bin Laden…continues to be very much in charge of his organization and is personally directing terrorist operations, according to excerpts of the conversation that are recounted in the FBI affidavit. ‘About bin Laden…he’s perfect, healthy, and he’s leading and he’s giving the orders … he’s OK, he’s in safe hands.”
Personally, I take this new information about Osama bin-Laden with a grain of salt. First of all, why is the FBI publishing remarks made by a low-level Al’Qaeda fighter? If Khan actually met bin-Laden several times in a face-to-face capacity, then maybe his comments to FBI interrogators would be more credible. But as Newsweek’s article makes clear, Khan never graced bin-Laden with his presence. He is merely relaying a conversation he had with another AQ operative, Ilyas Kashmiri.
Second of all, Khan’s testimony about bin-Laden is total hearsay. What he is essentially doing is disclosing what another Al’Qaeda member told him in private. This statement wouldn’t hold up in the most menial of cases, let alone the biggest terrorist manhunt in U.S. history. Perhaps Kashmiri was lying to Khan during these conservations in order to portray OBL as a man who is still resilient.
Finally, if we look at the attacks that have occurred over the past year, you will see the near absence of bin-Laden and his cohorts. Incidents of Islamic terrorism over the past year have largely been planned and perpetuated by Al’Qaeda affiliates (like AQ in Yemen and Al’Shabab in Somalia) or by isolated individuals, like Maj. Nadal Hassan in Fort Hood, Texas. Al’Qaeda ideology and guidance may be used for inspiration, but I would be really surprised if OBL and his inner circle in Pakistan actually had the capacity to order these operations.
If bin-Laden is in total control, then why didn’t he claim credit for the Christmas day bombing of a transatlantic passenger plane? Easy…Al’Qaeda Central is getting outflanked by its own affiliates.
-Daniel R. DePetris
**Comments courtesy of Newsweek’s Declassified**