It is quite depressing to read descriptions of how investigations or captures of Osama Bin Laden or other Al Qaeda were hindered by lawyers, rules developed by lawyers, or fears of lawyers. For example, there were the FBI lawyers who wouldn't allow seeking a search warrant to look into Zacarias Moussaoui's laptop computer in Minnesota just before 9/11/2001.
The latest set of lawyers' restrictions to be alleged grew out of a plan to capture Bin Laden. So great was the lawyers' concern for Bin Laden's comfort that a special chair was built to hold him and they were concerned whether the tape used to hold him would hurt his beard. This latest nonsense was revealed by the man who for 10 years headed the CIA's desk tracking Bin Laden, Michael Scheuer, interviewed by Nora O'Donnell on Hardball.
O'DONNELL: But many people have made the impression that something in the Bush administration was done wrong. But there's evidence that the Clinton administration knew full well that bin Laden had the wherewithal and was planning to attack the United States. Who is to blame and did the president, Clinton, get this information?
SCHEUER: Certainly the president got the information. And most certainly his closest adviser, Sandy Berger and Mr. Clarke—Richard Clarke, had the information from 1996 forward that bin Laden intended to attack the United States. There's no question of that. And in terms of which administration had more chances, Mr. Clinton's administration had far more chances to kill Osama bin Laden than Mr. Bush has until this day.
O'DONNELL: . . . From what we know now and what you know, how many missed opportunities were there to prevent the 9/11 attacks?
SCHEUER: Well, we had—the question of whether or not we could have prevented the attacks is one you could debate forever. But we had at least eight to 10 chances to capture or kill Osama bin Laden in 1998 and 1999. And the government on all occasions decided that the information was not good enough to act. . . .
O'DONNELL: Let me ask you what you know about what we've read recently about a secret military operation known as Able Danger. There are people involved in that that say that the United States knew about Mohammed Atta a year before the 9/11 attacks. Is that true? And was there a massive failure by our government?
SCHEUER: I don't know firsthand information about Able Danger, ma'am, but from what I've read in the media, that the lawyers prevented them from passing the information to the FBI, that certainly rings true. The U.S. intelligence community is palsied by lawyers.
When we were going to capture Osama bin Laden, for example, the lawyers were more concerned with bin Laden's safety and his comfort than they were with the officers charged with capturing him. We had to build an ergonomically designed chair to put him in, special comfort in terms of how he was shackled into the chair. They even worried about what kind of tape to gag him with so it wouldn't irritate his beard. The lawyers are the bane of the intelligence community. . . .
Scheuer goes on to say that, in his opinion, the Iraq War has been a disaster in the effort to stop terror.
SCHEUER: . . . The war in Iraq has broken the back of our counterterrorism effort. I'm not an expert on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, but the invasion of Iraq has made sure this war will last decades ahead and it has transferred bin Laden and al Qaeda from being man and an organization into being a philosophy and a movement. We've really made sure that the war against us is going to be a long and very bloody one. Iraq was an absolutely disastrous decision.
"NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition ...
Fetch ... THE COMFY CHAIR ...
Put [him] in the Comfy Chair! ...
Now — you will stay in the Comfy Chair until lunch time, with only a cup of coffee at eleven....
Confess! Confess! Confess! Confess!"
Related Posts (on one page):
- Gorelick Should Have Gone:
- The Intelligence Wall and the Culture of the Wall.--
- Did Lawyers Hinder Bin Laden Capture?--