Skip to comments.Bin Laden had 'no clue' about Sept. 11 retaliation
Posted on 04/27/2010 5:55:31 AM PDT by Yo-Yo
WASHINGTON - Osama bin Laden had no idea the U.S. would hit al-Qaida as hard as it has since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a former bin Laden associate tells WTOP in an exclusive interview.
"I'm 100 percent sure they had no clue about what was going to happen," says Noman Benotman, who was head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the summer of 2000.
"What happened after the 11th of September was beyond their imagination, " says Benotman, who adds that al-Qaida thought the U.S. was a "paper tiger."
Sitting on the floor at bin Laden's compound in Kandahar, Afghanistan during a meeting the summer before the attacks, Benotman shocked bin Laden and more than 200 other international jihadist leaders by telling the al-Qaida leader his jihadi strategy was "a total failure."
Benotman, a highly regarded associate of bin Laden's at the time, says he surprised him again by rebuffing a plea for help.
"He asked for my help. Bin Laden asked me personally, you know. I responded immediately on the spot ...'No. I'm not going to help you.'"
Bin Laden was stunned.
"Because he used to like to sit next to me, you know. My right hand side," Benotman says.
The seating location meant he was someone bin Laden respected.
Benotman says he spoke frankly because his reputation allowed him to.
"I've spent time in the front line engaging with the enemy more than bin Laden and [Ayman Al-]Zawahiri and the entire group of al-Qaida."
Zawahiri laughed when he warned those at the 2000 meeting that the U.S. response would be swift, hard and long, Benotman says.
Benotman attributes al-Qaida's overconfident attitude to the United States' response to al-Qaida attacks on its in embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1998.
Zawahiri, according to Benotman, expected only a missile attack.
"When they attacked the embassies in East Africa, they estimated the U.S. launched 75 cruise missiles and eight people got killed. So they said this time, maybe they will launch 200 and they laughed about this."
Benotman's assessment is backed up by a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, who was active in the fight against al-Qaida.
The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says "several captured terrorists have said publicly that al-Qaida never expected the towers to fall. Their goal was to frighten people and impact the U.S. economy, so they really didn't plan for the massive response the U.S. launched."
Bin Laden got more than one warning, says Benotman.
"I told him several times before the Sept. 11th attacks that if you do this, the U.S. is going to retaliate in a very harsh way. At least twice I reminded him about the serious orders he was given by Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban to stop fighting the U.S., and he disobeyed the order."
Now living in London and openly campaigning against organizations like al-Qaida, Benotman - according to some - is simply trying to avoid going to jail in his native Libya.
"I would like to believe that bin Laden was shocked and dismayed by what we did after 9/11, but I come hard up against an awful lot of evidence that that's exactly what he wanted," says Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit.
Scheuer questions whether Benotman is speaking out freely.
"Clearly, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is holding a hammer over his head," Scheuer says, noting some of Benotman's ex-LIFG colleagues are in prison and Benotman still has relatives in Libya.
Benotman, who still believes in the commitment Jihad requires, laughs at the notion he's afraid of being arrested.
"I'm not afraid of the Americans or any other country. My speaking out is a conscious decision and it's based on my entire experience and understanding of jihadism."
Not only does Benotman reject al-Qaida's ideology, but he says "killing civilians is a crime. I don't care if it's Jews, Christians, Muslims or anyone. It's a crime and we shouldn't help them (al Qaida)."
(Copyright 2010 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
I thought gore won & Bush was selected. Thats what Jessy Jackson has been saying
If he’d only waited 8 years he’d still be sipping mimosas by the pool.
Thank you Bill Clinton.
If he did it during Obama’s term he would have just had to do one of those “beer summits”.
OBL now knows the meaning of the term “ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES”
It wasn't under Bush. It is now.
The US as a country is not. Politicians in DC may be.
If only had we just sat down and talked with them none of this would have happened /sarc
Bill Clinton hastily ordered that poorly planned robot attack the morning Monica Lewinsky testified before a grand jury about Clinton committing perjury. The attack was nothing but a show of the commander and brief's power to order death from the sky, and 9/11 was nothing but bin Laden's retaliation for this attack.
I’ve always thought that if your goal was Global Islam, then Bin Laden made some very stupid and short-sighted tactical decisions. (they seemed to be doing just fine with their Immigrate then Procreate strategy...would have had Europe within a couple of decades and North America likely within a century)
Frankly, I don’t know which is the bigger joke, the feckless Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or the feckless Michael S. This article is about as believable as a Bin Laden tape.
No. That would have left too large of a carbon footprint. He would have given a "major address" in which he would have said, "We will never rest until those who did these terrible things are brought to justice!"
I was just about to post the same!
I think that's a lot of deliberate misinformation. Ramzi Yousef acknowledged that the entire goal of the 1993 bombing was to topple one tower into the other and bring them both down...he was extremely disappointed when the plan failed, and he and his uncle (Khalid Shaikh Mohammed) started planning 9/11 shortly thereafter, presumably with the intent to "finish the job".
bin Laden might have been captured or killed had one Senator Orin Hatch not got on the TV the day after the attacks and broadcast to the world that we were tracking bin Laden’s SAT phone.
I will always blame Bubba and the Dems for 9-11 because it was his do nothing policy that let it happen....along with Jamie Gorelick, the original Ostrich.
I am sure that in his wildest dream, Bin Laden never "dreamed" we would attack BOTH Afghanistan and Iraq. We (Bush) did it right.
And Congress was with him all the way...
I agree. This guy's "story" smells.
... but I come hard up against an awful lot of evidence that that's exactly what he wanted," says Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit.
From the 1979 American hostage taking through the 1980's and 1990's, we were a "paper tiger" flying in the wind for all the world to see.
In this case, I believe Benotman over Scheuer. It would appear that the Ron Paul faction is attempting to provide some sort of credibility to Scheuer. Having heard Ron Paul refer to the USA as an "imperialist" nation "occupying" foreign lands from the stage at the national TEA Party 4-15, I'm not impressed.
Michael F. Scheuer is a former CIA employee. In his 22-year career, he served as the Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station (aka "Alec Station"), from 1996 to 1999, the Osama bin Laden tracking unit at the Counterterrorist Center.He then worked again as Special Advisor to the Chief of the bin Laden unit from September 2001 to November 2004.
Scheuer became a public figure after being outed as the anonymous author of the 2004 book Imperial Hubris, in which he criticized many of the common United States and Western world assumptions about the motives for Islamic terrorism, and put these into the context of greater Western-Islamic relations.
Scheuer left The Jamestown Foundation in February 2009 from a position as Senior Fellow. He claimed that he was fired by the organization for his outspoken views on US-Israel relations. Jamestown's current president, Glen Howard, has pejoratively likened Scheuer's views to those of congressman Ron Paul.
Any pos who would come out with a book of that title and the crap he spewed during his 15 minutes, in the middle of the WOT with 2 hot battle fronts, not to mention the presidential campaign, is not worthy to be heard.
I thought that was Leahy.
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