Tenet knows he doesn’t have what he needs, but does he know what he needs?
Why does it not surprise me that we’re still not ready? Because the officials in charge are still not acknowledging the sources and roots of terrorism, and how terrorists are recruited. How can we combat this threat effectively of we refuse to look squarely at where it comes from? All the organizational and funding fixes that are being bandied about now still don’t get to the heart of the matter. Terrorists can still be recruited and formed ideologically in any mosque. Arrest the old ones, and new ones will appear.
WASHINGTON – CIA director George Tenet predicted Wednesday it will take “another five years of work to have the kind of clandestine service our country needs” to combat al-Qaida and other terrorist threats.
“The same can be said for the National Security Agency, our imagery agency and our analytic community,” Tenet testified before the commission investigating the worst terror attacks in the nation’s history. …
“While we now know that al-Qaida was formed in 1988, at the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the intelligence community did not describe this organization, at least in the documents we have seen, until 1999,” the report said.
As late as 1997, it said, the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center “characterized Osama bin Laden as a financier of terrorism.”
At the same time, though, the report said intelligence had recently received information revealing that bin Laden headed his “own terrorist organization” and had been involved in a number of attacks. These included one at a Yemen hotel where U.S. military personnel were quartered in 1992; the shooting down of Army helicopters in Somalia in 1993; and possibly the 1995 bombing of an American training mission to the Saudi Arabian National Guard.