Michael Scheuer, The CIA’s Bulldog & Adversary Of Osama Bin Laden
Michael Scheuer was born in Buffalo, New York 1952. He would go on to graduate from Canisus College in 1974 and Niagara University in 1976 earning is Master of Arts. He also received a Ph.D. in British Empire-U.S.-Canada-U.K. relations from the University of Manitoba in 1986. In 1982 Scheuer would however be an employee for the Central Intelligence Agency. He would be known to his associates within the agency as “outlandish”, “fiery” and “controversial”.
He would openly defy his superiors, but he would be tireless in his efforts making him tolerable to be around. By 1993 after the WTC bombing he began noting the rise in Islamic terrorism in the Middle East region. One person in particular to him was a Saudi businessman who was financing certain acts of terrorism, Osama Bin Laden. A relatively unknown figure, but Scheuer had him in the back-burner. Shortly after the Saudi government publicly disowns bin Laden (while privately continuing to support him) the bin Laden family follows suits and publicly disowns him as well. Bakr bin Laden, the chairman of the Saudi Binladin Group, the main bin Laden family company, signs a two-sentence statement. From here Bin Laden would relocate to the Sudan, greeted by Sudanese religious adviser Hassan Turabi. Scheuer notes the move but disbelieves that the Bin Laden family completely disassociates from Osama, in fact he would go on and state the reverse.
In 1996 Bin Laden would release a fatwa against the United States military. The fatwa is entitled “Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places.” It is a long piece, and complains of American activities in numerous countries. It was faxed to supporters across the world. The CIA begins a program to track Islamist militants in Europe noting a high rise in activity by notable Islamic organizations, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. Then months later the CIA would begin operating a database which would track Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda organization, it would be named the Bin Laden Issue Station located in Washington D.C. The idea was born from discussions within the CIA’s senior management, and that of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC).
David Cohen, head of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, and others, wanted to try out a virtual station, modeled on the Agency’s overseas stations, but based near Washington DC and dedicated to a particular issue. The Station was an interdisciplinary group, drawing on personnel from the CIA, FBI, NSA, DIA and elsewhere in the intelligence community. But it was here that information sharing would cease with other individual agencies also trying to gain intelligence. and thus began a years long war between the numerous Intelligence agencies operating outside the station.
It has been widely reported that US intelligence was unaware of the term al-Qaeda until after defector Jamal al-Fadl revealed it later in 1996. But Billy Waugh, an independent contractor hired by the CIA to spy on Bin Laden and others in Sudan in 1991 to 1992, will later claim that the CIA was aware of the term al-Qaeda back then. And double agent Ali Mohamed revealed the term to the FBI in 1993, Scheuer would be “mum” on what the CIA knew at the time however. Soon after its inception, the Station began to develop a new, deadlier vision of al-Qaeda. In May 1996, Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl walked into a US embassy in Africa and established his credentials as a former senior employee of Bin Laden. Scheuer and Coleman would begin the process of debriefing al-Fadl, who would in return give the Bin Laden station a “goldmine” of information that they would hardly believe.
Al-Fadl was persuaded to come to the United States by Jack Cloonan, an FBI special agent who had been seconded to the bin Laden Issue Station. There, from late 1996, under the protection of Cloonan and his colleagues, al-Fadl “provided a major breakthrough on the creation, character, direction and intentions of al Qaeda”. “Bin Laden, the CIA now learned, had planned multiple terrorist operations and aspired to more” — including the acquisition of weapons-grade uranium. By autumn 1997, the Station had roughed out a plan to capture bin Laden and hand him over for trial, either to the US or an Arab country. In early 1998 the Cabinet-level Principals Committee apparently gave their blessing, but the scheme was abandoned in the spring for fear of collateral fatalities during a capture attempt.
The Bin Laden Issue Station would also be code-named, Alec Station, in deference to Scheuer’s son, Alec. Scheuer would begin to employ many of the CIA’s top analysts, mainly women, to Alec Station. Michael Anne Casey, Alfreda Anne Bikowsky, Jennifer Matthews to name just a few. Their close, unwavering loyalty towards Scheuer became notorious even within the long halls of the Central Intelligence Agency. They were even given a nickname, “The Manson Family”. This close knit group was not what the CIA had desired, as they believed much of the information compiled by the Station was not being shared amongst those of the CTC,
In December 1998 CIA Chief George Tenet would openly declare war on Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. As an evident part of the new strategy, Tenet removed Michael Scheuer from the leadership of the Bin Laden Station. (Later that year Scheuer resigned from the CIA.) Tenet appointed Richard Blee, a “fast-track executive assistant” who “came directly from Tenet’s leadership group”, to have authority over the Station. “Tenet quickly followed this appointment with another more reserved individual.
He named Cofer Black as director of the entire CTC. Scheuer would remark on the move as “irresponsible” but would not regret having worked for the Bin Laden Issue Station. Many in the intelligence field regarded the move as “remarkable” since Scheuer was the defacto expert on Osama Bin Laden at the time. According to Scheuer, the State department’s close affiliation with Saudi Arabia was a problem, due to the mere fact that some of those Saudi princes were closely affiliated with the Bin Laden family thru the construction company, Saudi BinLadin Group.
“The world is lousy with Arab princes. And if we could have got Osama bin Laden, and saved at some point down the road 3,000 American lives, a few less Arab princes would have been OK in my book.”
Black also arranged for a CIA team, headed by Alec Station chief Blee, to visit Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud to discuss operations against Bin Laden. The operation’s code named, “Jawbreaker-5”, entailed having CIA contacts near the Bin Laden compound in Afghanistan. At about this time the SOCOM-DIA operation Able Danger also identified a potential Qaeda unit, consisting of the future leading 9/11 hijackers Atta, al-Shehhi, al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. It termed them the “Brooklyn cell”, because of some associations with the New York district. Evidently at least some of the men were physically and legally present in the United States, since there was an ensuing legal tussle over the “right” of “quasi-citizens” not to be spied on. It would later cause Lt.Col. Anthony Shaffer to come under fire from the Pentagon, ordering him and the Able Danger team to destroy all data collected about the two Islamic groups.
By 1999, Scheuer would still be employed by the CIA, but felt he had reached his peak. He was still a valuable asset for the Counter-Intelligence Agency but could not go further. In late 1999, the National Security Agency (NSA), following up information from the FBI’s investigation of the 1998 US embassy attacks, picked up traces of “an operational cadre”, consisting of Nawaf al-Hazmi, his companion Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf’s younger brother Salem, who were planning to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in January 2000. Seeing a connection with the attacks, a CTC officer sought permission to surveil the men. The CIA tracked al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar as they traveled to and attended the al-Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur during the first week of January 2000. From here both al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi began their travel to the United States arriving in Los Angeles International Airport in January 2000.
FBI agents assigned to the station, Mark Rossini and Doug Miller, learned that al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar had entry visas to the United States, they attempted to alert the FBI. CIA officials in management positions over the FBI agents denied their request to pass along this information to FBI headquarters. Michael Scheuer would later deny this, instead blaming the FBI for not having a “usable computer system”. Two unnamed veteran CIA Counter-terrorist Center officers deeply involved in Osama bin Laden-related issues are so worried about an impending attack that they consider resigning and going public with their concerns, according to the 9/11 Commission. Apparently they are also unhappy with the Bush administration’s lack of response to recent warnings. One of the officials would be none other than former Bin Laden Issue Station Chief, Michael Scheuer.
“One of the great intellectual failures of the American intelligence community, and especially the counterterrorism community, is to assume if someone hasn’t attacked us, it’s because he can’t or because we’ve defeated him.”
After the 9/11 attacks, Scheuer would return as an adviser for the Bin Laden Issue Station. He would officially retire in 2004 from the Central Intelligence Agency. He would later go on to write numerous books, Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror and Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America. He would also go on to marry a careerist within the CIA, Alfreda Frances Bikowsky, who would later oversee the torture of 9/11 “Mastermind” Khalid Shaykh Muhammad.
Michael Scheuer also held unbridled vitriol towards those, whom he perceived, as more influential (even more knowledgeable) than himself when it came to counter-terrorism. His tirades were against Richard Clarke (head of the counter-terrorism center under Clin & Bush) and John O’Neill (FBI counter-terrorism).
For when it came to O’Neill, Scheuer, held nothing back. During a 2007 Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights hearing, William Delahunt related a quite from Scheuer’s book where he disparaged O’Neill as an “opportunist”….
Mr. DELAHUNT. And John O’Neill…you had this to say about him: ‘Mr. O’Neill was interested only in furthering his career in disguising the rank incompetence of senior FBI leaders.’
Mr. SCHEUER. Yes, sir. I think I also said that the only good thing that happened to America on 11 September was that the building fell on him, sir.
Today, Michael Scheuer continues author books, and also holds many media interviews where he espouses his erratic beliefs regarding the Middle East, he also is a very strong critic of the right wing Israeli Zionist Movement. Where he states in numerous interviews that he finds them “more trouble than what they are worth”.
To enlighten how “erratic” Scheuer has become, one only needs to digest his latest remarks regarding Trump’s political opponents. With Scheuer backing Trump for the presidency in 2016, he also made remarkably unsound comments about Obama’s former cabinet and for the Left in general. July 2018, on his own blog (now defunct) Scheuer would remark that the millions of armed Trump supporters would need to eliminate the “left leaning opponents” with deadly force.
”If Trump does not act soon to erase” his opponents, he wrote, “the armed citizenry must step in and eliminate them.”
Scheuer named those opponents as:
….thug-civil-servants like Strzok, Comey, McCabe, Page, and Rosenstein; worshipers of tyranny, like the Democratic members of Congress, the Clintons, the FBI, and the Obamas; apparent traitors like Brennan, Hayden, and Clapper; all of the mainstream media; and the tens of thousands of government-admitted-and-protected, violent, criminal, and illegal immigrants.
Near the final moments of his summary, Scheuer concluded by looking forward to the “utter joy and satisfaction to be derived from beholding great piles of dead U.S.-citizen tyrants.”
The volatile, psychology behind Scheuer continues to echo thru the long empty office cubicles of Alec Station, where his ideas regarding the Arab population were just as tumultuous as they are today….only this time, it is for the American citizenry.