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May 23, 2007

Declassified Intel: 2005 Bin Ladin Missive Sought Iraqi Terrorist Attacks *Inside America*

Bear in mind, it was 2005, so this intelligence alone does not add to the pile of evidence for Hussein-bin Ladin links.

Rather it demonstrates that whether liberals believe it or not, Al Qaeda certainly believes Iraq is the central front in the global war on terror, and further, losing Iraq would almost certainly give Al Qaeda not only an enormous psychological victory but an enormous recruiting/staging area for terrorist attacks.

As many commenters noted, while we argue about immigration, there is, in fact, a somewhat major war on.

President Bush, stressing that Americans face an ongoing threat from terrorists, shared intelligence on Wednesday asserting that Osama bin Laden was working in 2005 to set up a unit inside Iraq to hit U.S. targets.

...

Bush said that intelligence showed that in January 2005, bin Laden tasked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, his senior operative in Iraq, to set up the cell to use Iraq as a staging ground for attacks in the United States. Al-Zarqawi was killed in Iraq in June 2006 by a U.S. airstrike.

This information expanded on a classified bulletin the Homeland Security Department issued in March 2005. The bulletin, which warned that bin Laden had enlisted al-Zarqawi to plan potential strikes in the United States, was described at the time as credible but not specific. It did not prompt the administration to raise its national terror alert level.

...

Around the same time, Abu Fajah al-Libi, a senior al-Qaida manager, suggested that bin Laden send Rabia to Iraq to help al-Zarqawi plan the external operations, he said. It is unclear whether Rabia went to Iraq.

Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser, said new details about the plots were declassified because the intelligence community has tracked all leads from the information, and that the players were either dead or in U.S. custody.

Democrats, of course, question the timing. For some strange reason they seem to believe that this information should have been suppressed.

Democrats Cry Foul

Democrats and other critics have accused Bush of selectively declassifying intelligence, including portions of a sensitive National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq...

A White House spokesman makes the obvious point that such "selective declassification" would have been more helpful had it been "selectively" released earlier. Like, say, before the 2006 elections. But Bush held off until he got the all-clear that the information was no longer useful to the enemy.

Liberals seem to believe that important intelligence the enemy doesn't know about -- like our monitoring of international transactions -- should be released, but information the enemy obviously knows about should be nonetheless withheld from the American public.

An odd position to take. At least it's odd if your priority is fighting Al Qaeda, rather than warring on one's fellow countrymen.


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posted by Ace at 01:55 PM

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