US counterterrorism official describes information from Bin Laden compound
WASHINGTON, DC (PAN): Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US forces in a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May, was not only concerned about the long-term viability of his terrorist outfit, but also knew that he had failed to portray the US as being at war with Islam, a top White House counter-terrorism official said.
“Information seized from that compound reveals bin Laden’s concerns about Al Qaeda’s long-term viability,” John Brennan, a top counterterrorism advisor to US President Barack Obama, said in a speech at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
“He called for more large-scale attacks against America, but encountered resistance from his followers, and he went for years without seeing any spectacular attacks. He saw his senior leaders being taken down, one by one, and worried about the ability to replace them effectively,” he said.
“With the death of Osama bin Laden, we have struck our biggest blow against Al Qaeda yet. We have taken out Al Qaeda’s founder, an operational commander who continued to direct his followers to attack the United States and, perhaps most significantly, Al Qaeda’s symbolic figure who has inspired so many others to violence,” Brennan said.
According to a White House fact sheet, Bin Laden, clearly saw that Al Qaeda is losing the larger battle for hearts and minds. “Bin Laden knew that he had failed to portray America as being at war with Islam. He knew that Al Qaeda’s murder of so many innocent civilians, most of them Muslims, had deeply and perhaps permanently tarnished Al Qaeda’s image in the world,” the fact sheet said.
“He knew that he had failed to portray America as being at war with Islam,” Brennan said.
“In fact, he worried that our recent focus on Al Qaeda as an enemy had prevented more Muslims from rallying to his cause, so much so that he even considered changing Al Qaeda’s name,” he said. “We are left with that final image seen around the world -- an old terrorist, alone, hunched over in a blanket, flipping through old videos of a man and a movement that history is fast leaving behind,” he said.
“But this fight is not over. We will never waver in our efforts to protect the American people. We will continue to be clear and precise about our enemy. We will continue to use every tool at our disposal and apply them wisely and judiciously. We will continue to forge strong partnerships around the world and build a culture of resilience here at home,” Brennan said.
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