Osama's Diary: Nothing Operational

What a faux headline from the AP, "Diary: Bin Laden eyed new targets, big body count." From the body of the article:

Intelligence officials have not identified any new planned targets or plots in their initial analysis of the 100 or so flash drives and five computers that Navy SEALs hauled away after killing bin Laden.

....Officials have not yet seen any indication that bin Laden had the ability to coordinate timing of attacks across the various al-Qaida affiliates in Pakistan, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq and Somalia.

They can't even conclude AQAP and the other al Qaida groups paid attention to his musings. AQAP is far more relevant and operational than Osama. [More...]

The Yemen branch had already surpassed his central operation as al-Qaida's leading fundraising, propaganda and operational arm.

The AP thinks Ayman al-Zawahri will be "Osama's successor." I don't. Only al Qaida in Iraq has backed him and Iraq only has a very small faction of al Qaida. Also, al-Zawahri is as old school as Osama. He's mostly a symbol.

If there is a new leader of al Qaida, I think it will be from the new generation of al Qaida groups -- probably AQAP. While as the AP says, the groups in Somalia and Algeria have not focused on America but on local concerns, AQAP has targeted the U.S. It sent Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to Detroit and was behind the failed cargo plane bomb attempts. They said before one of their goals was to take down the avaiation industry. They have dual targets: The West (including the U.S. and Europe) and Saudi Arabia (due to their perception that Saudi Arabia is protecting Israel and Jews.)

They don't even share Osama's goal of a big body count. After the cargo bombs were intercepted they wrote:

We are laying out for our enemies our plan in advance because as we stated earlier our objective is not maximum kill but to cause a hemorrhage in the aviation industry, an industry that is so vital for trade and transportation between the U.S. and Europe.

You can read more in their November, 2010 Inspire Magazine.

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    Well, I'm of (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:34:51 PM EST
    the belief that if there was anything operational, it sure wouldn't be in the press.

    If I'm reading you right... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Thanin on Wed May 11, 2011 at 06:56:22 PM EST
    that's what I'm thinking, that they aren't going to start blaring to the press about all the new plots they've discovered.  Seems smarter to play it out like they didn't really find anything specific.

    Agree (none / 0) (#6)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu May 12, 2011 at 06:32:13 AM EST
    With all of this. Using news reports to gauge his involvement misses the fact that the CIA would never release that information anyway.  And they are right not to do so.

    I feel like you and I read (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Wed May 11, 2011 at 05:39:00 PM EST
    two completely different AP articles

    Agree Tracy (none / 0) (#5)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu May 12, 2011 at 06:29:41 AM EST
    I don't understand the implication of posts which minimize Osama's importance. Is the thinking that the directives of Clinton, Bush and Obama were all wrong?

    We made a decision over a decade ago,before 9/11 to kill him and when we do it's suddenly a question for debate?

    We doubted for years that he had an active roll so any indication that he was more active than we thought is even more reason to get him. Heck we thought he was powerless because he lived in a cave. Now that we know he was living in a city with real access to the outside world,taking him out was that much more imperative. His capture would have caused even more issues.


    That's because (none / 0) (#9)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu May 12, 2011 at 10:23:32 AM EST
    the AP wrote two different articles within one.  Read it again.  It contradicts itself.  The top agrees with you.  The bottom agrees with Jeralyn.

    I'm with Jeralyn on this (none / 0) (#4)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu May 12, 2011 at 12:51:03 AM EST
    Bin Laden was never the operational guy in al Qaeda, that was always Zawahiri.  AQ only became a force after the two of them joined forces-- Z as the grossly unlikable operational guy and Osama as the logistically hapless but inspirational figurehead.

    There's zero reason to think that a guy hiding out in a fortress in Pakistan who didn't even dare to have an internet connection or a phone line could even be an operational force.

    Using couriers, he could continue to play the role he's always played-- encouragement, general guidance, spiritual figurehead.

    If somebody was seriously planning something big, he'd surely know about it and there'd be evidence of it in his computer files that the U.S. now has. But they're not going to tell us about that if they found such a thing because, duh, they want to cut whatever plotters off at the knees, not postpone it or redirect it with publicity.

    He didn't have internet (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Thu May 12, 2011 at 07:37:20 AM EST
    or phone because none of them do.  How many thumb drives did he take away from there though?  It is how they move information.  How fast did we magically find Awlaki?  When we find Zawahiri he won't have internet or phone service either.  Also, new members of the Haqqani network have been added to the wanted terrorist list as well and I have little doubt it is because of evidece we gathered at the compound.  I think Osama was very much informed and in the loop and we got awesome intel.

    Actually (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:57:10 AM EST
    He's being classifed as akin to a mob crime boss. Of course, there's still millions of pages of translations to go through, so no one can make a definitive statement as of yet as to what and how large a role he played with the various terrorist organizations at this point.

    Bin Laden's directions tended to be big-picture in nature, officials said, focusing more on broader objectives than on granular operational details. "I wouldn't call it command and control" that bin Laden was exercising, the senior U.S. intelligence official said. Indeed, there is no indication that bin Laden even knew the specific whereabouts of Zawahiri and others. Al-Qaeda's fragmented nature and operational security appear to have kept its leader substantially in the dark.

    "We're not going to find operational manuals or Excel spreadsheets" with rosters of operatives and points of contact, the senior intelligence official said. Bin Laden served as a "chief executive who is giving fairly generic, broad instructions and guidance rather than tactical orders," the official said.

    Even so, the communications are expected to help the CIA and other organizations, including the National Counterterrorism Center, gain significant insights into al-Qaeda's structure and relationship to regional affiliates.

    The U.S. intelligence official said bin Laden's records have "confirmed our view that AQAP is first among equals in terms of relationships with al-Qaeda core." The acronym refers to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based group that has been behind a series of plots targeting the United States, including the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009.

    Bin Laden does not appear to have been in communication with the most widely recognized AQAP figure, the American-born cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, a relative newcomer who never met the al-Qaeda leader, U.S. officials said. But bin Laden did relay messages to others in Yemen whom he appears to have known personally.

    Largely because of Aulaqi's influence, AQAP has emerged as what U.S. counterterrorism officials have described as the most immediate threat to American interests.

    Two reasons to get Osama now (none / 0) (#10)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu May 12, 2011 at 10:30:49 AM EST
    Even Christiane Amanpour (sp, and don't feel like looking it up) knew that Osama was in a villa in Pakistan.  I think most people in US Intell knew by the time he was killed.  He was like a slug, creepy, crawly, but virtually harmless if caged in.

    2 reasons why they got him now:

    1.  Republican votes -- His killing beefed up Obama's support among Republicans -- not among Democrats, tho.

    2.  Fundraising -- Obama's already writing Bin Laden's name into his fundraising emails.

    Gawd, during the 2008 campaign his little debate with McCain about whether we'd take Osama out of Pakistan all but gave it away!  Why didn't they debate, "well what if he is in Libya" or whatever.  No, it was only Pakistan.  That's where he was and they knew it.

    Bin Laden was neutered, a puppy, a fish in a barrel.  Look at him in those videos.  Pathetic.  And then he was gone.  Hope he wasn't used up for nothing.

    With any luck for Obama, Osama will wipe out the economic effect.  We'll see.  I doubt it.

    then he should have waited (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by CST on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:28:50 AM EST
    a year.

    CST (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:38:23 AM EST

    The conspiracy theory doesn't even make sense. And in addition would have to have involved the complicity of dozens of military and intelligence officers, many of whom are republican, would would have been more than happy to let the world know after the fact that Obama pulled the trigger for political reasons.


    I'm not signing on to any conspiracy (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Anne on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:50:41 AM EST
    theories about when and why OBL was killed, but, see, the thing about conspiracy theories is - they don't have to make sense to get traction.  Look how much time and attention has been spent the last two years on the birth certificate, for heaven's sake - that didn't make sense to anyone who had any sense, but that didn't kill it, did it?

    Talk about your short attention spans...


    They'll prob try that anyway . . . (none / 0) (#17)
    by nycstray on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:41:29 AM EST
    many of whom are republican, would would have been more than happy to let the world know after the fact that Obama pulled the trigger for political reasons.

    they are republicans after all . . .


    But doesn't he need (none / 0) (#16)
    by nycstray on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:39:18 AM EST
    the billion now?  ;)

    TeresaInSnow2: Your theory is that (4.50 / 2) (#11)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu May 12, 2011 at 10:59:34 AM EST
    They killed him now to help with fundraising and to get republican votes.

    You have no evidence or support for that so it is not even worth trying to refute the point.

    I think that the stretch you are making to demonize Obama's team speaks volumes.


    If not for that last (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by sj on Thu May 12, 2011 at 12:32:56 PM EST
    sentence I would have given you a 5.

    Delete that last sentence (none / 0) (#28)
    by AngryBlackGuy on Thu May 12, 2011 at 02:28:22 PM EST
    I am desperate for a some support on an argument every once in a while up in this place.

    Stick to facts (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by sj on Thu May 12, 2011 at 02:48:14 PM EST
    or specifically state opinion.  You'll get support even when you don't get agreement.  But present opinion or spin as fact and you'll get ... what you've been getting.

    This comment contains no snark whatsoever.  It's meant to help.


    If your theory is right, one wonders (none / 0) (#12)
    by Anne on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:04:26 AM EST
    why Obama took no lessons from what happened to Bush 41's re-election chances after the first Gulf War: approval ratings in the high-80's, considered a shoo-in for 1992, and then doomed by the economy.

    People's memories are short - too short; sure, there will be the inevitable circus that attends the 10th anniversary of the attacks, which will be good for more fundraising and grandstanding and pot-shotting, but then we head into the cold of fall and winter, and if the economy is still sucking, I don't believe people who still don't have jobs and can't afford to heat their homes will be warmed much by the memories of the killing of bin Laden.

    At this stage, I am, quite honestly, more worried about how bin Laden's death will be used to take more freedom and privacy from us than has already been taken, even as I have a mental picture of the OFA/Democratic Party fairly drooling over how they can exploit this for fundraising purposes.



    President Obama took lessons (none / 0) (#30)
    by Politalkix on Thu May 12, 2011 at 08:29:58 PM EST
    from Bush 41's re-election story. Bush 41 raised taxes, conservatives stayed home on election day.
    BHO has not raised taxes.
    (Note: I did not agree with the President on his tax deal).

    So Obama's takeaway from Bush 41 ... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Yman on Thu May 12, 2011 at 09:14:43 PM EST
    ... was that if he raised taxes, conservatives would stay home on election day, rather than coming out to vote for him?!?

    Heh ...


    That (none / 0) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:13:33 AM EST
    has been the result but do you really think that the GOP support is lasting? I don't. He had the support of 20% before and lost it.

    Of course he's going to use Bin Laden's name for fundraising. Anybody would.

    All of this stuff is just going to be fleeting though. Right now Obama's riding on a wave that hasn't started to crash yet but it will. We don't know how hard or when but history has shown that these type of things don't last forever.


    Anyone have a source (none / 0) (#19)
    by observed on Thu May 12, 2011 at 11:57:29 AM EST
    on Annanpour knowing OBL was in a villa in Pakistan?

    She was on Bill Maher's show (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Yman on Thu May 12, 2011 at 12:32:41 PM EST
    ... when she stated she talked to someone "very knlowledgable ... in American intelligence" who believed OBL was in a villa in Pakistan, as opposed to hiding in a cave.


    But I don't think repeating an intelligence officer's opinion re: OBL's hiding place is evidence the government has known his whereabouts for years.  I'm sure many in the intelligence community had differing opinions regarding his hiding place ... one of them was bound to be right.


    Ha.. imagine if Annanpour had (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by observed on Thu May 12, 2011 at 01:14:08 PM EST
    brought CNN cameras to the villa for an interview.

    I saw a clip of her saying it (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Thu May 12, 2011 at 12:00:53 PM EST
    in a roundtable discussion, but she did not name her source.

    Link (none / 0) (#21)
    by Dadler on Thu May 12, 2011 at 12:19:50 PM EST
    Note the headline in today's LAT: (none / 0) (#22)
    by oculus on Thu May 12, 2011 at 12:30:50 PM EST
    "Bin Laden journal details horrific plans"  front page  But clicking on that headline produces a different, less inflamatory lede.  Interesting.  

    Maybe they've been hiring ... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Yman on Thu May 12, 2011 at 12:34:14 PM EST
    ... some editors from Huffington Post?

    Good one. (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Thu May 12, 2011 at 12:42:23 PM EST
    Avenge bin Laden (none / 0) (#32)
    by MO Blue on Fri May 13, 2011 at 08:59:41 AM EST
    Pakistan suicide bombs kill 80 to avenge bin Laden

    SHABQADAR, Pakistan (AP) -- A pair of suicide bombers attacked recruits leaving a paramilitary training center in Pakistan on Friday, killing 80 people in the first retaliation for the killing of Osama bin Laden by American commandos. The Taliban claimed responsibility, blaming the Pakistani military for failing to stop the U.S. raid.