Monday, April 03, 2006
Osama bin Laden is alive, healthy and is planning another major strike inside the United States. So said his former chief bodyguard, Abu Jandal, in a segment of CBS's "60 Minutes" which aired Sunday. Jandal had served bin Laden in Afghanistan in the four years leading up to the 9/11 attacks.
Correspondent Bob Simon played for Abu Jandal the audiotape of bin Laden's January truce proposal ("stop attacking Muslims") in which he warned of more attacks if his offer was not accepted. "He made a similar proposal to the Europeans," said Abu Jandal. "He warned them and gave them six months. When there was no response, he started with the Madrid bombing, then London. So I believe Osama bin Laden is planning a new attack inside the United States. This is certain." Asked if he is sure Osama is preparing a new attack, Abu Jandal said, "When Sheikh Osama promises something, he does it."
Mike Scheuer, head of the bin Laden unit at the CIA, and who has been tracking and trying to kill bin Laden since the late 1990's, said Abu Jandal is a very credible source. "I do think he is who he says he is. What he says about events, people, al Qaeda, meshes very thoroughly with what we know, from both, from unclassified sources and from classified intelligence." Simon asked him how Abu Jandal compares, in terms of providing valuable information, to the prisoners currently being held in Guantanamo. "Oh, I think he's probably far more important than anybody we've got in Guantanamo. Because he had direct exposure to Osama bin Laden. He’s very, very knowledgeable about the organization worldwide," Scheuer replied.
The threat of a new attack is chilling enough. But the 60 Minutes piece ended on an even more chilling note, one that's illustrative of the magnitude of the hatred towards America in that part of the world. The segment showed Abu Jandal's son Habib, no more than five or six years old. A handsome, intelligent, charming boy who dreams of being an engineer when he grows up. But his father has another goal for him. "I have great hopes for him and pray to God that he will finish what his father was not able to finish. I pray that he will become a martyr. Frankly, I hope that my son gets killed and becomes a martyr for the sake of God Almighty."
How on earth are we to successfully fight, and defeat, and enemy that has absolutely no regard for human life, even for that of its children?