Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Crime Beat Column: Michael Scheuer, The Former Chief of the CIA's Bin Laden Unit, On Bin Laden

I read Michael Scheuer's Osama bin Laden over the weekend.

While I may not agree with Mr. Scheuer's worldview, particularly on noninterventionism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I thought his book was a knowledgeable and interesting look at Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, terrorism, and Islamist insurgency.

Know Thy Enemy!

Scheuer, seen in the above photo, is a 22-year-veteran of the CIA and served as an analyst and chief of the bin Laden unit at the CIA's Counterterrorist Center. Today he is a foreign policy critic and the author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War On Terror and Through Our Enemies' Eyes.

Scheuer's new book debunks the popular misconceptions about bin laden and al Qadea. Scheuer wrote that Bin Laden is successfully leading an Islamist insurgency. Scheuer believes bin laden is a formidable enemy and his is winning the war against America and the West.

I ventured to Philadelphia's Central Library this past Thursday to hear Michael Scheuer speak about bin Laden, the war on terrorism and the crisis in Egypt. Although I didn't agree with everything he said, I found him to be an interesting and engaging speaker.

He was critical of the efforts of the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations to fight al Qadea. He pointed out that before 9/11, the Clinton administration blew several chances to kill bin Laden and the Bush administration blew the chance to kill bin Laden after 9/11 at Tora Bora during the initial action in Afghanistan.

I plan to interview Michael Scheuer for the upcoming issue of Counterterrorism magazine. 

I heard Michael Scheuer speak before at the Philadelphia Main Library a few years back. Scheuer appeared with Gary Berntsen, the CIA field commander who lead one of the first teams into Afghanistan after 9/11. Berntsen wrote a book about that time called Jawbreaker.

I later spoke to Gary Berntsen and wrote a piece for Counterterrorism magazine, noting Scheuer and Berntsen's talk in Philadelphia .

You can read the piece via the below link:

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