Ten years ago today, President George W. Bush signed a two-page memorandum called "Humane Treatment of Taliban and al Qaeda Detainees." The memorandum, drafted in part by John Yoo, is now best known as the first of the so-called "terror memos." It argued that the government was exempt from the Geneva Conventions in any war on terror-related investigations, as, the document asserts, the treaty refers only to "High Contracting Parties."
Somali officials confirmed Saturday that they shot and killed Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the head of al-Qaida in East Africa, and one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists, at a checkpoint on Tuesday. Mohammed had a $5 million bounty on his head for his connections to bombings of embassies in Africa that lead to the deaths of more than 200 people. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the killing a "significant blow to al-Qaida."
Sunday’s mission to infiltrate and extract Osama bin Laden was by all measures a success. But in the nearly decade-long process that led up to this moment, there's a new debate raging over how intelligence officials went about finding the world's most hunted terrorist. The latest reporting by journalists suggest detainees at Guantanamo Bay and in secret prisons in Europe were interrogated to obtain any information about bin Laden's whereabouts — including the identity of his courier.
Just three months ago, the common assumption was that al-Qaida was losing its importance in the Muslim world. The popular protests in Tunisia and Egypt appeared to herald a newer, younger, Internet-savvy, pro-democratic voice— a voice silenced by autocratic regimes for decades. Following the U.N.'s authorization of a no-fly zone over Libya, and a swift military intervention by international forces, those same pundits fear that al-Qaida might find new inspiration and opportunities for safe haven. Michael Scheuer, Former head of the CIA Bin Laden Tracking Unit, and author of the book “Osama Bin Laden" says that the U.S. is essentially providing air cover for al-Qaida.
Over the past two months, the world has witnessed tremendous change in the Middle East; but one voice has been conspicuously absent. Al-Qaida has yet to make a single announcement on the popular demonstrations that have forced out autocratic leaders from Tunisia and Egypt, or on the similar protests which have besieged the governments of Libya, Bahrain and other Arab nations. Is this a strategic move or has democracy wiped out the terrorist organization?
Michael Scheuer, the chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999 and a counterterrorism analyst until 2004, explains why Osama bin Laden continues to be a significant and powerful figure—he’s devout, talented, patient, ruthless, and a formidable, implacable enemy of the West. In Osama Bin Laden, Scheuer shows bin Laden to be a figure of remarkable leadership skills, strategic genius, and considerable communication abilities.
A new audiotape aired on Al Jazeera this morning that appears to be Osama bin Laden promising to kill Americans if authorities execute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. According to Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA bin Laden unit, the threat is a response to a poor play on behalf of President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.
Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Tex) died yesterday at 76. A member of the House Appropriations Committee, Mr. Wilson was best known for funding CIA support for the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and of course, the movie, "Charlie Wilson's War." We hear about Charlie Wilson's legacy with Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich, and then with former CIA operative, Mike Scheuer.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for an Afghan officer who blew himself up on a US military base in Afghanistan killing eight Americans. We get an update from Anand Gopal, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, who is on the ground in Kabul. And we talk with Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA Bin Laden Tracking Unit, about how the American military can train Afghan forces if they can't trust them.