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"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show
"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket
"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
May 18, 2006
Let's Be Sure To Do Exactly What Bin Laden Wants Us To
A while ago Judith Miller mentioned that she'd heard in the summer of 2001 about U.S. concerns about a big impending Al Qaeda attack. Now Rory O'Connor William Scott Malone have interviewed Judith Miller about it, and written it up for Alternet. Her account is corroborated by her then-editor Stephen Engelberg.
According to Miller, many government types were extremely worried there would be an attack on the July 4th, 2001 weekend. She went down to DC to try to talk to people, but they were mostly too busy. Still, Miller says:
...I did manage to have a conversation with a source that weekend. The person told me that there was some concern about an intercept that had been picked up. The incident that had gotten everyone's attention was a conversation between two members of Al Qaida. And they had been talking to one another, supposedly expressing disappointment that the United States had not chosen to retaliate more seriously against what had happened to the Cole. And one Al Qaida operative was overheard saying to the other, 'Don't worry; we're planning something so big now that the U.S. will have to respond.'
But Miller et al couldn't learn anything more about this, and so the New York Times didn't end up running a story. Kevin Drum asks, "Perhaps now would be a good time to follow it up?"
I feel the same way, particularly because doing a follow up shouldn't be too hard. The obvious place to start beyond Miller is the 9/11 Report. According to the report, after the Cole attack,
...Bin Ladin anticipated U.S. military retaliation. He ordered the evacuation of the al Qaeda's Kandahar airport compound and fled...
There was no American strike. In February 2001, a source reported that an individual whom he identified as the big instructor (probably a reference to bin Ladin) complained frequently that the United States had not yet attacked. According to the source, Bin Ladin wanted the United States to attack, and if it did not he would launch something bigger.
That's on page 191. It sources this claim to "Intelligence report, Terrorism Activities, Oct. 1, 2001" (Chapter 6, footnote 126).
I've long been amazed that the news bin Ladin really, really wanted retaliation from the U.S. has gotten so little attentionÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âeven after it appeared in the most official report imaginable. The phrase "complained frequently that the United States had not yet attacked" gets 5 results from Google, one of which is simply the text of the report.
REMEMBER: As I wrote yesterday, al Qaeda's real goal has nothing to do with "our freedom." As the 9/11 report also says, what they're trying to do is win "their struggle for preeminence among other Islamist and jihadist movements." Having a gigantic military response from the U.S. has helped them do just that.Posted at May 18, 2006 12:41 PM | TrackBack