May 5, 2011
It might seem churlish to second-guess a military operation that removed a master terrorist from the face of the Earth. But conflicting statements from the White House about whether Osama bin Laden was armed during the raid on his compound raise the question of whether the United States ever intended to do anything other than kill him, and if not, whether we should find that troubling. In his statement to the nation Sunday, President Obama said Bin Laden was killed after a firefight, the implication being that he exchanged gunfire with American commandos.
May 5, 2011 |
U.S. intelligence agencies are racing to exploit a trove of documents and computer files that U.S. Navy SEALs collected from Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan before other Al Qaeda groups or leaders can change their communication methods or move their safe houses. Many of the files are written in multiple languages, and some appear in code, U.S. officials said. "At first blush, there appears to be some value," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of House Intelligence Committee, who was briefed on the effort Wednesday.
February 3, 2011 |
As Americans watch the stunning and, potentially, ominous transformation now underway in Egypt, they're going to hear a great deal about that country's Muslim Brotherhood and what its participation in a post-Hosni Mubarak regime may portend. It's a crucial question and reminds us, once again, how important it has become to gain an understanding of the fundamentalist Muslim theological current called Salafism and of its contemporary expression through political Islam, since the Brotherhood grows out of the former and is the modern godfather of the latter.
January 14, 2011 |
Al Qaeda has just released the latest in its series of how-to guides for jihadists in the West who want to murder without the bother of flying to Pakistan to be trained. This time, the offering is an English-language manual explaining in detail how to build a bomb, and it demonstrates how nimbly Al Qaeda has adapted to become the world's first truly global terrorist organization, able to recruit and train fanatics on the Internet as well as on the ground. Almost 10 years after the most devastating attack on the American homeland by a foreign power since the British army burned Washington in 1814, Al Qaeda remains alive and deadly.
November 4, 2010 |
Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, which security officials believe was responsible for last week's attempt to down American-bound aircraft, has managed to avoid the mistakes of its Iraqi counterparts, making it perhaps more resilient than the militant group's other franchises, according to an assessment by an analyst. Much like the U.S. military, which has had to adapt to fighting in the Muslim world, Al Qaeda has been doing its homework and changing its ways, according to a recent paper by Ryan Evans in the Sentinel, the monthly journal of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
March 11, 2010 |
A growing number of Taliban militants in the Pakistani border region are refusing to collaborate with Al Qaeda fighters, declining to provide shelter or assist in attacks in Afghanistan even in return for payment, according to U.S. military and counter-terrorism officials. The officials, citing evidence from interrogation of detainees, communications intercepts and public statements on extremist websites, say that threats to the militants' long-term survival from Pakistani, Afghan and foreign military action are driving some Afghan Taliban away from Al Qaeda.
January 9, 2010 |
The suicide bomber who carried out an attack on a CIA firebase in Afghanistan detonated the device as he was about to be searched and used an explosive so powerful that it killed agency operatives who were as far as 50 feet away, a U.S. intelligence official said Friday. The details shed new light on how the attacker, a Jordanian physician thought to possess valuable intelligence on Al Qaeda's inner circle, was able to kill seven CIA employees and contractors and his Jordanian handler and injure six others despite a heavy security presence at the base.
December 8, 2009 |
Eight years ago this month, Osama bin Laden walked out of the Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan and disappeared into Pakistan. U.S. intelligence agencies have no real idea where he is today, but it is clear that the world's most wanted man and the terrorist organization he leads have reemerged as a powerful force behind the increasingly deadly insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Three senior Obama administration officials warned last week that Al Qaeda is more dangerous than at any time in the last 18 months.
November 20, 2008 |
Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader used a racial epithet to insult Barack Obama in a message posted Wednesday, describing the president-elect in demeaning terms that imply he does the bidding of whites. The message seems aimed at convincing Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Ayman Zawahiri said in the message, which appeared on militant websites, that Obama was "the direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X, the 1960s black Muslim leader.
October 17, 2008 |
A suspected U.S. missile strike killed an alleged foreign militant in a Pakistani tribal area considered a haven for the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and a suicide bombing left four security personnel dead, officials said. The missile strike hit a house in the lawless South Waziristan region along the border with Afghanistan, considered a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden and his lieutenant, Ayman Zawahiri. Two Pakistani intelligence officials said that reports from informants and field agents suggested that a foreign militant died in the attack and that another was injured.