May

9

 Instead of all the stories about seizure of the most significant and detailed terrorist intel in history, wouldn't it have been wiser to leak the story that the hard drives and cellphones were pretty much wiped clean, that OBL was scrupulous in protecting his terrorist network? That way all OBL's Al Queda lieutenants and contacts might have been misled for a time, might not have changed all their communication and codes and scattered away immediately from their existing locations.

But I guess this continued bragging for the media and electorate is a lot more important than actually rolling up the OBL's network.

Pitt T. Maner III writes:

The geological clues from the early OBL videos looked promising at the time in the efforts to pinpoint his location. Perhaps more of these type of physical backdrops will be uncovered in recent pictures, videotapes, hard drives, etc. There are probably similar electronic data location clues as well.

Dr. Jack Shroder, a geologist from the University of Nebraska Omaha, was a key player in the field of geomorphological hide and seek:

After September 11, local reporters contacted Shroder and others at the Afghanistan Studies Center. Then, one day, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle called and asked him if he knew where Osama bin Laden was in the September video that aired on CNN. "In an inadvertent moment, I let that San Francisco Chronicle guy know that I knew where it was and all hell broke loose after that." Shroder says he knew the rocks and landforms and could place them in the western Spinghar (White Mountain) region of Tora Bora and nearby. "I was smart enough to know that I ought to mislead the media a little bit before I gave away something that I shouldn't have." So, to protect the sensitivity surrounding bin Laden's whereabouts, Shroder told the reporter a location he knew was probably not exactly right. He didn't want the press to have that precise information before the U.S. government did.


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4 Comments so far

  1. d.m. on May 9, 2011 6:46 am

    As in markets you never quite know what the truth is. How do we know for sure that OBL did not wipe everything clean? Is there a chance that this was announced so his counterparts would have to re-plan and in effect buy us time?

  2. Steve on May 9, 2011 8:23 am

    I have several close friends in the military in Afghan and FBI friends. We have discussed these points that are being raised here.

    Trying to think through this and after watching Obama on 60 minutes(Steve Croft is the worst interviewer ever!!!!) There are so many things the public will never hear that which is discussed in private . We are left to speculate on what the US intel knew and when they knew it.

    My suspicions are that US military has known for quite some time at least months and perhaps years that UBL lived in Pakistan and in particular in his compound. The best example I can give is when the US broke the german cypher code machine enigma http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enigma_machine. We extracted incredibly valuable information critical to the success of the war by monitoring the traffic rather than revealing the source.

    With the technoligy available today with satellites that the NSA never talks about once The US extraced the couriers name they tracked him for months to monitor his contact with UBL. In other words, UBL was more valuable alive than dead.

    We will never know what propogated the timing of the assassination team to go into the compound. I am sure much of it was political. No doubt the fact that they went in on Sunday evening was politically tactical. His popularity numbers were low and sinking lower. High unemployment and higher gas prices topped the newswires. The first GOP debate was scheduled. What better way than to Wag The Dog. It set the table for the media onslaught that would follow. Note the choreography afterward.
    It fit in beautifully with the Presidents schedule for the upcoming week. A photo op to Alabama and Miss to look at the tornado damage. A visit to ground zero to present a wreath. In short, he had a very good week.

    I am an avowed analytical cynic when it comes to politics. non partisan. I have know too many pols personally and steadfastly refuse to buy into their morality. They are like sausage. And I stay away from both.

    Ask yourself these questions. Why was he assassinated? Why was he not captured and brought forward for debriefing. Why not just send a missile in or a drone to do the work that a team of Navy SEALS did. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop? The world may never know.

  3. Steve on May 9, 2011 1:22 pm

    “But I guess this continued bragging for the media and electorate is a lot more important than actually rolling up the OBL’s network.”

    Exactly!

    Sell the sizzle and not the steak

  4. Thomas L. Knapp on May 10, 2011 11:04 am

    “wouldn’t it have been wiser to leak the story that the hard drives and cellphones were pretty much wiped clean, that OBL was scrupulous in protecting his terrorist network?”

    Not necessarily.

    Of course, we don’t know exactly what, if anything, was actually recovered … but it’s a good bet that even if everything there was recovered, everything there wasn’t everything.

    Pretending they got nothing when in fact they got some things might encourage a lax attitude toward changing procedures on the part of al Qaeda and result in some additional coups.

    Pretending they got everything — even if they got nothing at all — on the other hand, might throw al Qaeda into complete confusion as it struggles to build entirely new communications channels on the assumption that all existing ones are now compromised.

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