|Updated: 5/16/2006; 2:30:54 PM.
Post-9-11 events and analyses
Thursday, June 03, 2004
A Scapegoat Is Not a Solution: Notes on how much the CIA had advised about Al Queda, and how policy was slow to change. "[The CIA] 1995 national intelligence estimate on foreign terrorist threats in the United States judged that the odds were increasing that terrorists would try to use chemical or biological agents, but that they "were more likely to use the conventional weapons with which they are familiar and which can be extremely destructive." The estimate postulated that the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 — in which the bombers' objective was to topple the twin towers and kill thousands — had probably crossed a threshold in terms of "large-scale terrorist attacks" and that more of the same would be coming. The kinds of targets the estimate identified as being especially at risk were "national symbols such as the White House and the Capitol and symbols of U.S. capitalism such as Wall Street."
Even more striking, that estimate also made clear that the most likely foreign terrorist threat stemmed from the network of Islamist groups that had formed during the jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. It noted the network's continued reliance on training in Afghanistan, and the animus of its members toward the United States. It warned that members were seeking cover by blending in with the growing Muslim immigrant community in the United States, and that they could move freely because "they know how to take advantage of U.S. laws." Among its key judgments, the intelligence estimate assessed that members of this Islamist network posed the most likely threat of terrorist attack in the United States, and that growth of the network was "enhancing the ability of Islamic extremists to operate in the United States." It also highlighted civil aviation as a vulnerable and attractive target. " 11:11:10 PM
Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 2:30:54 PM.