MYTH 1The war on terror is over “The war on terror is over,” declared a senior State Department official. Really? In the year since OBL’s death, up to 500 fighters have been killed by US drones in Pakistan alone. The US recently expanded its drone campaign in Yemen, and has carried out 23 strikes in the past year.
MYTH 2The Taliban and al Qaeda stopped cooperatingAn intelligence official told CNN that as of 2006, al Qaeda and the Taliban werenot cooperating. According to The New York Times, a NATO report called “State ofthe Taliban 2012” found that the Taliban had gradually distanced itself from alQaeda. But documents found in the bin Laden raid show a close relationshipbetween Taliban commander Mullah Omar and top al Qaeda commanders,including bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Some of the correspondence datedback to only weeks before the raid.
MYTH 3Bin Laden was no longer involved in al Qaeda planning“In my opinion,” said U.S. Institute for Peace Army Fellow Col. John Maraia, “binLaden had evolved from an operational leader into a symbolic one.”Far from sitting isolated in his safe house, declassified documents from theAbbotabad raid show bin Laden advising members of Al Shabaab in Africa andinstructing his followers on specific steps to take to avoid drone strikes. He alsosuggested ways to use the media to capitalize on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
MYTH 4Enhanced interrogation efforts didn’t work“These techniques,” former FBI agent Ali Soufan told a 2009 Senate panel, “froman operational perspective, are ineffective, slow and unreliable, and as a resultharmful to our efforts to defeat al Qaeda.”But the intelligence that led to bin Laden proved Soufan wrong. The initialinformation that led to locating bin Laden’s hideout came from al Qaeda operativesin US custody, all of whom were interrogated by the CIA. One of the detaineeswho underwent enhanced interrogation techniques revealed that bin Laden used alone courier nicknamed “Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti.” 9/11 mastermind Khalid SheikhMohammed, when asked about the courier, tried to protect his identity, tipping offinterrogators that they were on to something important.
MYTH 5The Obama administration’s new approach led to bin Laden’s capture President Obama pushed the narrative that the Bush administration ignored bin Laden, boasting in the speech that revealed bin Laden’s death, “Shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda.” But without the military and intelligence capabilities developed during the Bush administration, the raid would not have been possible. “The trail to bin Laden” wrote former Chief of the CIA Counterterrorism Center Jose Rodriguez, Jr., “started in a CIA black site — all of which Obama ordered closed forever on the second full day of his administration — and stemmed from information obtained from hardened terrorists who agreed to tell us some (but not all) of what they knew after undergoing harsh but legal interrogation methods. Obama banned those methods on Jan. 22, 2009.”