Friday, June 18, 2004

The Stooge 

Via Zemblan patriot J.D.: Kelli Arena's scurrilous comment last month on CNN ("There is some speculation that al Qaeda believes it has a better chance of winning in Iraq if John Kerry is in the White House") may have been just a tad premature. Julian Borger of the Guardian previews a new book by a senior intelligence official whose opinion on the subject happens to dovetail with our own: why would Osama bin Laden want to switch presidents when he has the world's sweetest patsy in George W. Bush?
A senior US intelligence official is about to publish a bitter condemnation of America's counter-terrorism policy, arguing that the west is losing the war against al-Qaida and that an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked" war in Iraq has played into Osama bin Laden's hands.

Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, due out next month, dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that Bin Laden and al-Qaida are "on the run" and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.

In an interview with the Guardian the official, who writes as "Anonymous", described al-Qaida as a much more proficient and focused organisation than it was in 2001, and predicted that it would "inevitably" acquire weapons of mass destruction and try to use them . . . .

Imperial Hubris is the latest in a relentless stream of books attacking the administration in election year. Most of the earlier ones, however, were written by embittered former officials. This one is unprecedented in being the work of a serving official with nearly 20 years experience in counter-terrorism who is still part of the intelligence establishment.

The fact that he has been allowed to publish, albeit anonymously and without naming which agency he works for, may reflect the increasing frustration of senior intelligence officials at the course the administration has taken.

Peter Bergen, the author of two books on Bin Laden and al-Qaida, said: "His views represent an amped-up version of what is emerging as a consensus among intelligence counter-terrorist professionals."

Anonymous, who published an analysis of al-Qaida last year called Through Our Enemies' Eyes, thinks it quite possible that another devastating strike against the US could come during the election campaign, not with the intention of changing the administration, as was the case in the Madrid bombing, but of keeping the same one in place.

"I'm very sure they can't have a better administration for them than the one they have now," he said.

"One way to keep the Republicans in power is to mount an attack that would rally the country around the president."

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