Monday, July 16, 2007

So What Does the CIA Know?

Our intelligence community seems about to report that al Qaeda is as strong as it was pre-9/11.

This seems highly unlikely. Even if they have gained some space in Pakistan's border regions to operate, there improved position locally hasn't translated into more effectiveness abroad. The world's intelligence services cooperate very closely with us on this. Plus we stomp them when they show themselves. Further, even their local resurgence relies on Pakistani negligence. The Red Mosque crisis surely shows Pakistan that they cannot make a deal to let jihaids survive on the assumption that the jihadis will only be a problem for us. Look for al Qaeda's local improvement to be reversed soon.

Despite the so-called improvement, the latest bin Laden video doesn't seem too impressive:

As mentioned, there's an Osama cameo floating around. It seems to be from a video shot in 2001 or 2002. If that is correct, then I would draw two conclusions: first, that it is additional confirmation that he is dead. (If he were alive, they could do a new one, right?) And second, that this is a sign of panic, a poorly manufactured pseudo-blockbuster appearance designed to rally the troops, who must be getting fairly discouraged these days. The war is not going well for them in Iraq or Afghanistan (where the big "spring offensive" didn't happen)or Lebanon or England or over here. The best thing they've got going for them at the moment is (are) the surrender monkeys.

Only Allah knows how much the enemy is hurt.

The CIA has far less information available, apparently.

UPDATE: Actually, I went astray a bit in this post. I expect the intelligence community will do a decent job on this. The estimate's public version is yet to be released, however. The press is interpreting al Qaeda's threat to us. The press does not have a good record at reading government or Congressional reports and fully reporting them with an degree of accuracy. I look forward to seeing the actual public report. I have no doubt that al Qaeda has gained some strength based on their sanctuary in Pakistan. This has long been a problem. But I won't just accept the press version of the report.