The Hunt For bin-Laden
Vol: 1 Issue: 31 Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Finding Osama bin-Laden or his top al-Qaeda lieutenants looks like it should be a piece of cake, if you’ve seen Harrison Ford do it in “A Clear and Present Danger” but we haven’t found him, despite our technological edge. The problem is, all our technology is designed to detect something. Finding a cave is all about detecting the absence of something. In Vietnam, the best way to find a tunnel was to sniff around a likely spot to detect body odor or smoke. The North Koreans tunneled for hundreds of feet under the DMZ. The Palestinians move weapons into Israel from Egypt through a maze of tunnels.
The US military may have other, secret technologies at its disposal. In the Gulf War, soldiers faced enemies in underground bunkers, which led to more research into detection and destruction techniques. But if we’ve got it, it isn’t working yet. Afghanistan should be well-covered by spy satellites given its Cold War history, particularly after the Soviet invasion in 1979. But we still haven’t found bin-Laden, his top aides, or the underground nuclear and chemical labs he is believed to have hidden somewhere in the caves of Afghanistan. All our technology is designed to counter other technology, not against cavemen.
Daschle Letter Could Have Infected Two Million People
It has been revealed that the amount of anthrax [about 2 grams] contained in the letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was enough to infect as many as two million people. A single breath of anthrax o the quality in the Daschle letter would be enough to be fatal.
France Seeks To Unify Muslim Groups
The French government is pushing plans to set up a formal body that would represent the country’s Muslim minority. The French are stepping up efforts to create a ‘French Council for the Muslim Religion’. This would be a democratically elected body that would have the authority to represent the nation’s nearly 5 million Muslims. The plan is to develop an organization to serve as a unifying body for the broad-based Muslim community and control perceived radical elements.
About 3 million French Muslims are of North African descent, with 1.5 million coming from Algeria, another 1 million from Morocco and 350,000 from Tunisia. The rest are a mix of immigrants from all over the Muslim world, including Turkey, the Gulf Arab states and even sub-Saharan Africa.
The only problem with the plan to unify the countries’ estimated ten million Muslims is the danger of creating a French al-Qaeda with official representatives in the French parliament. But the French government isn’t famous for its forward thinking. This is one more example.
Pakistan To Bar Citizens From Joining Taleban
The Pakistani government has decided not to allow any citizen of Pakistan to cross over the border into Afghanistan and join the fight against the United States, paknews.com reported. “We will not want any Pakistani to go into Afghanistan. We want peace in the war torn country,” foreign office spokesman Riaz Mohammed Khan said at a news briefing. The decision to close its borders comes after reports that upwards of 5,000 Pakistanis were traveling to Afghanistan to join the war effort.
Iran’s Top Cleric Warns Against Improving Ties With US
Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has publicly rejected the idea of ending over two decades of estrangement with the United States. Khamenei even threatened to remove from the government anyone who spoke in favor of U.S. ties.
Taliban Claims It Has US Defectors On Their Side
The Afghan Islamic Press claims that roughly 500 U.S. and allied soldiers are fighting with the Taliban opposition in northern Afghanistan. They are said to include U.S. Special Forces, technically proficient soldiers and military advisors. This report is being given wide circulation in Pakistan and other Islamic countries. The West has simply ignored it. Another reason why we are losing the propaganda war.
US To Seek Closer Ties With Algiers
Islamic radicals from Algeria are now key players in the international terrorism network. As a result, Washington will seek closer ties with Algiers, especially in the realm of intelligence cooperation.
US Intelligence Believed Inadequate To the Challenge
Attention is turning to the need for an intense, covert war in which the American intelligence community will play a leading role. At the same time, there is a crisis of confidence concerning the ability of the intelligence community to wage that war. The problem isn’t just the incompetence of the CIA, but of the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and a host of other intelligence agencies that frequently compete with each other, sometimes undercut each other and often get in each other’s way. The best intelligence has no value if there is no one to connect pieces of information and from them draw intuitive insight.
Keeping secrets is what spy agencies do — and without a clearly defined adversary, our spies stay sharp by keeping secrets from each other. The government must take a careful look at the degree to which the intelligence community compartmentalizes intelligence. Compartmentalization is an important tool in limiting the damage done by espionage.
Compartmentalization can also mean that very few people ever get to see the entire picture. Espionage got into a rut during the Cold War. When it ended, our intelligence agencies had to compete to avoid the budget axe. The result is a US intelligence community that spawned Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanson, the John Walker Family spy ring and a dozen or so other high profile, high damage double agent scenarios. Our best spies are all now in jail for spying on us.