From the AFP:
Osama bin Laden is expected to remain in hiding until he stages another attack on the United States, an ex-CIA expert who had tracked the terror mastermind for two decades warned in an interview on Wednesday.
“As soon as he hits us in the United States again we’ll see how important he is in the Islamic world,” Michael Scheuer, the former head of the “bin Laden unit” at the CIA, told AFP in an interview.
Despite his low profile, bin Laden remains powerful, Scheuer said, shrugging off reports that the al-Qaeda chief was isolated and his communication network shattered due to a relentless hunt for him.
“We mistake quiet for defeat or irrelevance. And all quiet is disquiet,” said Scheuer, a fierce critic of the Bush administration and its “War on Terror” policy since he left the CIA in November last year.
Scheuer said that bin Laden’s right-hand-man Ayman al-Zawahiri, who last appeared on a video aired 10 days before the anniversary of the September 11 2001 attacks on the United States, seemed to have temporarily taken over the al-Qaeda leadership apparently for the boss to prepare for another United States strike.
Bin Laden last surfaced in a video footage aired on the eve of the US presidential elections in November last year. In the tape, declared authentic by the authorities, the Saudi-born radical directly admitted he ordered the September 11 attacks.
Asked why he thought the al-Qaeda leader had not resurfaced since then, Scheuer said: “I don’t think we are going to hear from him until he attacks us again.
“His feature on the eve of the election was simply to say that: This is it, I have warned you four times. I punched my ticket in the Islamic world, I’ve given you all the warning that the religion requires me.