May 9, 2011


With Osama Bin Laden Videos, U.S. Is Managing the Message (David_Kerley) and CAIT TAYLOR, May 8, 2011, ABC News)

"This shows the reality. This man is not a fighter. This man is not carrying his AK-47. He is an individual that is isolated, living with women and children," 40-year CIA veteran Charlie Allen said.

Allen said the clips of bin Laden, including his missed cue and the lights going out, all serve to debunk the image bin Laden worked years to create.

"I think the administration has done a very intelligent thing," he said. "The whole view is to try to take away some of his mystique, some of this great idea that is a great spiritual leader of al Qaeda globally."

Former FBI counterterrorism specialist Jack Cloonan echoed Allen's assessment.

"The first image that we were talking about is trying to say, 'Look, this isn't the guy that you think he is. He isn't the leader. He doesn't look young. He doesn't look vibrant,'" Cloonan said. "And if we were trying to encourage recruitments, given what's happened in the so-called Arab Spring, I don't think that is the image that would entice people to join, frankly."

Even without the release of the bin Laden tapes, there are indications that his message was already losing influence throughout the Arab world. In the past months there have been popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya, all calling for democracy not bin Laden's radical version of Islam.

According to former acting CIA director John McLaughlin, these uprising do not play into al Qaeda's plan.

"They're on the losing end of what's going on in the Middle East," McLaughlin said. "No one's carrying around al Qaeda placards on the streets in places like Egypt and Tunisia."

Especially not with Predators circling.

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Posted by at May 9, 2011 6:31 AM

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