Presumably to buck up their campaign theme–“Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive“–the Administration pre-leaked some documents to David Ignatius taken from OBL’s compound revealing that OBL hoped to attack President Obama. Ignatius described the aspirational plot as a “bold” command
Before his death, Osama bin Laden boldly commanded his network to organize special cells in Afghanistan and Pakistan to attack the aircraft of President Obama and Gen. David H. Petraeus.
“The reason for concentrating on them,” the al-Qaeda leader explained to his top lieutenant, “is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make [Vice President] Biden take over the presidency. . . . Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour . . . and killing him would alter the war’s path” in Afghanistan. [my emphasis]
And even while Ignatius admits OBL was never going to be able to shoot Petraeus and Obama out of the air, he offers it as proof that the terrorist still wanted to launch spectacular attacks.
The plot to target Obama was probably bluster, since al-Qaeda apparently lacked the weapons to shoot down U.S. aircraft. But it’s a chilling reminder that even when he was embattled and in hiding, bin Laden still dreamed of pulling off another spectacular terror attack against the United States. [my emphasis]
Politico–that arbiter of beltway conventional wisdom–has described Ignatius’ acceptance of a motivated leak to be a scoop of such proportions to solidify his position as the “preeminent writer on national security affairs.” Politico even offers a quote from its own anonymous Administration source explaining what they got by leaking stuff to Ignatius.
“David is not only influential, he’s a serious journalist who is taken seriously,” an Obama administration official told POLITICO. “His byline gives [the bin Laden] story instantaneous cachet, credibility and, yes, visibility.”
Which Politico accompanies with fawning quotes from Jeff Goldberg, Evan Thomas, Steve Clemons and Sally Quinn (Sally Quinn!?!?!) affirming Ignatius’ magnificence as national security status.
There’s just one problem with all that.
Ignatius, this purportedly brilliant commenter, doesn’t even notice, much less mention, how stupid OBL was.
OBL was going to kill Obama not for the sake of killing the US President, but because Biden, who served in the Senate for 36 years, almost 12 of which he served as one or another powerful committee Chair, “is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis.”
Joe Biden may be many things: but he is as prepared to be President as just about any person in this country. And in a number of key debates during this Administration–notably, what to do with Afghanistan–Biden proved to be right two years before the rest of the Administration copped on.
OBL’s plans to attack Obama, then, show not just how unhinged from reality about al Qaeda OBL was by this point, but also how completely ignorant he was about America.
You’d think that DC’s crack national security correspondent would note just how laughable OBL’s plots were late in life.
But I guess if he did, the Administration wouldn’t come to him anymore for his purported “instantaneous cachet, credibility and, yes, visibility.”