Falls Church, Virginia. The former CIA officer who advised President George W. Bush and later President Barack Obama on the intelligence data that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden on the September 11, 2001 attacks, said Tuesday that he believed the Taliban would be able to kill Laden. Will invite law. To rebuild his army in Afghanistan.
“I have no doubts,” said Michael Morrell, a two-time acting director of the CIA. “I think the Taliban will give Al Qaeda a safe haven and I think Al Qaeda wants to rebuild its capabilities so that it can attack us here in the country.”
Morrell spoke on an online forum sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, which is holding a series of panels this week to mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Counter-terrorism operations follow a pattern, Morrell said, in that the capabilities of terrorists can be easily reduced with a focused effort, but are easily rebuilt when that effort is not focused. He pointed out that when the United States turned its attention to Iraq in 2002 and 2003, which led to a resurgence of al Qaeda that led to attacks in Madrid in 2004, London in 2005, and elsewhere.
“When our focus shifted to Iraq, al-Qaeda began to retaliate,” Morrell said.
He said that if al-Qaeda establishes a safe haven in Afghanistan, it may be difficult to develop the kind of strategic intelligence that would make it possible to launch actions against them. He said that the United States must apply the lessons learned from the past 20 years.
Equally important, he said, is that the United States upholds its values while pursuing terrorists. He acknowledged that the years immediately following the 9/11 attacks were a contentious period for the CIA, when the agency operated secret prisons and allowed interrogation that many were tortured.
He says they were missions the CIA should never have accepted.
“Contrary to what is traditionally thought, we were not experts in interrogation,” he said. “Interviewing someone who’s willing to say everything is something we’re very good at. But we don’t have the experience to speak up for someone who doesn’t want to.”