Monday, January 26, 2009

It's not like the movies

Former George Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen got called on his assertions about the efficacy of Bush's intelligence policies (in which he referred as Barack Obama as the most dangerous man to occupy the Oval Office) by the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin. Consider just one aspect of Thiessen's responding claims --

Zubair then provided information that led to the capture of a JI [Jemaah Islamiah] terrorist leader named Hambali—KSM's [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] partner in developing the West Coast plot. Their strategy was to used Southeast Asian operatives, since KSM knew we would be on the lookout for Arab men.

Told of Hambali's capture, KSM identified Hambali's brother "Gun Gun" as his successor and provided information that led to his capture.

Hambali's brother then gave us information that led us to a cell of 17 JI operatives that were going to carry out the West Coast plot.

The "West Coast" plot was the intended use of Richard Reid style shoe-bombs to blast open cabin doors and then fly the planes into buildings. No discussion of the feasibility of flying a plane after an explosion, let alone who would do the flying. Note that he never explains how many of the 17 JI operatives were pilots. Likely because the answer is 0.

While Hambali stays in Gitmo because of the Executive Decision style fantasies of people like Thiessen, he could have been tried for the very real crime of the Bali bombing by Indonesia or Australia. Is the unstated logic for keeping him locked up that letting him out would be too embarrassing?

No comments: