thenoobyorker asks: HIPSTER TERRORIST, JUST LOOK AT THIS “THE KILLS” INSPIRED PHOTO. Do you think that all of these new Al-Qaeda losses have something to do with Osama’s data?
» SFB says: While we don’t have the proof directly in front of us, the fact of the matter is, seeing all these deaths of key al-Qaeda figures within weeks of one another suggests the data had at least some role. Some of that data was probably time-sensitive and the kind of thing they would’ve had to act fast on to have any sort of effect. But the big question: Does the data offer information to break down the structure of al-Qaeda, beyond its leadership? (Also, the first half of your response = LULZ.) — Ernie @ SFB
The President has announced that this July will mark the beginning of a transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces. However, in my view the transition plan is too slow. We need to begin handing responsibility of security to Afghan forces immediately and aim to have most US combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of next year. We should leave behind only a small force to hunt down and kill terrorists in Afghanistan, and to help the Afghan military perform their duties.Senator Max Baucus • Calling for both a quicker withdrawal of troops, and a quicker transfer of responsibility from the U.S. military to Afghan security forces. That these conversations are starting to crop up is unsurprising; the death of Osama bin Laden, the ostensible reason the U.S. entered Afghanistan to begin with, makes this the most politically opportune time to voice such sentiments. And while the concerns in leaving quicker are by no means negligible, with a government as steeped in corruption as the Afghanistan’s is, and under a leader like Hamid Karzai (famously volatile, takes bags of money from Iran, once threatened that he might join the Taliban), what is the ultimate definition of success for the U.S. involvement there? source (via • follow)
» Not unless they pay it out to a computer, anyway. U.S. officials are saying that no one directly gave the U.S. information that lead to Osama bin Laden’s capture, but instead attribute it to technology. They tracked Bin Laden’s most trusted courier through his cell phone, they found his compound by using stealth drones, and they’ll be keeping their money, thank you very much. If computers had feelings, they’d be devastated.
His agenda focused on what he could destroy, as opposed to what he could build.Barack Obama • Speaking about Osama bin Laden. He claims that most people in the Middle East saw al-Qaeda’s approach as a dead-end.
» Distrusting against all odds: The penchant for some of the population to prefer any explanation, even a bad one, that makes a chaotic world make sense to them is nothing new. That said, there’s one very salient reality behind this story that makes the doubts notably, patently absurd. Let’s imagine, for a moment, that Osama bin Laden is alive. Why then has al-Qaeda conceded that he’s dead? All they’d need to do to deal a complete and utter deathblow to America’s credibility, domestically and internationally, would be to produce a live bin Laden. It would be catastrophic, and would cast Barack Obama as a liar and fraud of the highest order, a win which they’d never in a million years pass up. But they won’t, and can’t — the guy is dead as dirt.
I have sought further information from the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and they confirm for me that, in fact, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee… was obtained through standard, non-coercive means. … it was not torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden. I hope former Attorney General Mukasey will correct his misstatement.Senator John McCain • Speaking on the effort made by some — former Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey among them — to claim that “enhanced interrogation” (or torture, as it was unabashedly known and is in many quarters still known today) was vital to gaining knowledge of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts. This is the sort of non-partisan candor that made him popular from the start, and it’s well-founded; the effort by some to cast torture as key to the bin Laden raid, a claim made absurdly quickly after his death, when reports of what had happened in the compound were changing by the moment, was as clear and crass an attempt at hijacking a national narrative as you can get. (note: Mukasey has responded) source (via • follow)