By Jim Kouri
In the midst of the current death and destruction occurring in Middle East and North African nations — that continued on Saturday and Sunday — many terrorism experts believe the multi-national Islamic uprisings are tied to radical jihadists such as al-Qaeda, the Egyptian Salafists, the Iranian Quds Force, and other terrorist organizations.
In fact, on Sunday the Washington Times revealed that the U.S. intelligence gathering and analysis regarding the Arab nations involved in the violence was flawed to the point of absurdity.
“[T]he attacks in Benghazi and Cairo were the result of [a] massive intelligence failure at the top levels of government. There were many indications that extremists were targeting U.S. diplomats in Libya and Egypt months before this year’s Sept. 11 attacks. These deadly plans had nothing to do with a low-budget, anti-Islamic film. The Obama administration simply failed to connect the dots,” James S. Robbins of the Times wrote on Sunday.
Ironically, in a flagrantly political report by the Obama State Department released in August, officials noted that the deaths of Osama bin Laden and other key figures have put al-Qaeda on “a path of decline,” according to the Law Enforcement Examiner on Aug. 2, 2012.
One counterterrorist criticized the document saying the U.S. State Department fabricated it’s report, basing it on positive “conjecture rather than cold hard facts” in order to prop up a failed president.
The Country Reports on Terrorism, issued by the State Department, hailed the killing of bin Laden, the founder and sole leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist group for 22 years, calling it an event that “highlighted a landmark year in the global effort to counter terrorism.”
The report noted other killings of top terrorists such as Atiya Abdul Rahman, al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, who was taken out not long after bin Laden’s death. The State Department said that as a result the terrorist network is “on a path of decline that will be difficult to reverse.”
According to several U.S. government anti-terrorism officials, “the report is aimed at bolstering President Barack Obama’s image as the nation’s Commander in Chief. Period.” What’s more, they claim the report is merely wishful thinking combined with political expediency.
“At first reading, you’d think Obama physically led the SEAL team that eliminated bin Laden on in Pakistan,” said political strategist Michael Baker. “If anything, the Obama White House jeopardized the life of an informant who aided the Navy SEALs in locating Osama bin Laden.”
Baker is referring to a Pakistani medical doctor who aided the United States and was subsequently arrested and sentenced to a 30-year prison term.
But in an effort to legitimize the report, State Department officials conceded that the radical Islamist group continues to be an “enduring and serious threat to U.S. national security” and it is an organization still capable of conducting transnational attacks against the U.S. mainland or overseas interests, according to former New York counterterrorism analyst Det. George Huang.
“Unfortunately, members of the State Department never read the reports being spoon-fed to news reporters, especially about attacks against America’s overseas interests, which I imagine includes U.S. embassies and consulates,” said Det. Huang.
The State Department regards the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as a ” particularly serious threat,” saying the affiliate had taken control of territory in southern Yemen and was exploiting unrest in that poor country to advance plots against secular governments in the area as well as U.S. and European locations and interests.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and Al Shabaab in Somalia are also dangers to the United States, as well as up-and-coming groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, Det. Huang points out.
Had the Obama White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bothered to read several Government Accountability Office reports, perhaps they wouldn’t have been caught flatfooted on Sept. 11, 2012, he noted.
“Better still, it wouldn’t hurt our Commander in Chief to attend at least a few intelligence briefings now and then since he rarely attends these important security briefings. Perhaps to Obama it’s more important to meet with George Clooney, Beyonce, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kerry Washington” he added.