|We haven't learned a thing.|
we get an interview with incoming Democratic House Intel chairman, Silvestre
Reyes, that is stunning in it's… er… How to put this? No other
way to say it, ignorance.
I'm stunned. But guess what, Reyes is not alone.
The Reyes revelations on al Qaeda come right below the FBI's ignorance on al Qaeda and terrorism, which is beyond all imaginings five years after 9/11. But the truth is, only \”33 of 12,000\” FBI agents have even \”limited proficiency\” in Arabic, according to NBC. Many don't even know bin Laden's spiritual leader. New FBI agents only get 2 hours of Arabic cultural training. One FBI official even said expertise isn't important. It's leadership that matters. Maybe, but expertise sure doesn\’t hurt, especially… well, in anything.
But between the FBI and Reyes, I'd say the lessons most assuredly have not been learned. It scares the crap out of you. EmptyWheel suggests a quiz. It should be given to the FBI, too.
We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And
then we veered into terrorism’s major players.
To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern
Ireland: Who’s on what side?
The dialogue went like this:
Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?
“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking
“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.
“Predominantly Ã¢â‚¬” probably Shiite,” he ventured.
He couldn’t have been more wrong.
Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house,
they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.
That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up a l Qaeda consider
all Shiites to be heretics.
Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden
and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith
through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly
allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.
It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners
into the World Trade Center.
Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?