It's been a few days since a new insider bin Laden story has trickled out of the elite media. He'll be back, though, we're coming up on the one-year anniversary and there's also an election looming.
But you say, "bin Laden was the big fish". No doubt, he blessed 9/11. But the guy who actually dreamed up 9/11 and made it happen was named Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and he was captured on George W. Bush's watch in 2003.
And he still hasn't been tried.
Not that some haven't tried to try him, but it's been 9 years. Obama's minions were out acknowledging this, saying "it's about time" without the slightest sense of irony seeing as how their boss canceled the last trial in-progress as soon as he entered office. But there's talk of a new attempt, so here we go. An interesting question is how these terrorist narratives might line up: zombie UBL in the press versus breathing KSM in the courtroom. The last time we saw Mukhtar he was taking credit for almost everything.
The thing is, not everyone knows KSM. Oh, they know the weird hairy little man from the picture who is blamed for the attack, but how much more does the average person know? Do they know he's the uncle of Ramzi Yousef Abdul Basit Karim, aka the first World Trade Center bomber? Do they know both conspired with an actual pilot, Hakim Murad, a childhood friend of common Baluch heritage, to kill the Pope, Clinton and knock down ten US airliners over the Pacific well before anyone had bin Laden on the radar?
Maybe they don't know that Yousef and Murad were not AQ members and that KSM remained on his own through most of the 90s. Maybe they don't know that none were quite as pious as the Islamists tied to bin Laden or Zawahiri. Maybe they don't know that KSM was almost captured in the mid 90s while living in the UAE after the feds intercepted a love note he wrote to a dancer he had dated in Malaysia. Which means they also may not know that Bill Clinton failed to catch him in the mid 90s even though he was devoting more time than anyone to catching UBL (we now understand that presidents catch terrorists, of course).
Bin Laden was indeed the face of AQ and it's good that his rotted corpse is being nibbled on by Charlie the Tuna but KSM is the face of 9/11. UBL sat in his hut and blessed mass murder via writ through Quranic scriptures while doling out his Saudi oil inheritance. KSM killed Daniel Pearl with a sharp knife. He didn't need Quranic blessings to murder westerners.
Like UBL he used safe-houses in Pakistan and even the same courier--al-Kuwaiti. Yet after he was captured there were no leaked stories about how gutsy the Bush team was in nabbing the perpetrator of 9/11--on the contrary, they squirreled him away to secret prisons to mine him for intelligence on what might be coming next. And there were things coming next. His legacy is not of being shot by Navy Seals in the act of grabbing his trusty Kalashnikov but of having water being dumped on his nose by the CIA, ie, the victim of a Bush-Cheney war crime.
Assuming this tribunal goes forward there will likely be stories about KSM's exploits to accompany coverage. Like NBC's snippet coverage of George Zimmerman there will probably be some reshaping to fit the narrative if it can help Obama and hurt Bush-GOP in any fashion, so get ready. Perhaps coincidentally, a book about KSM has already hit the shelves called "The Hunt for KSM" written by Josh Meyer and Terry McDermott, a pair of former LA Times reporters.
The book is a good read with shortfalls. It cleverly tries to debunk some of the more conspiratorial views mentioned over the years by maintaining the 'super terrorist' rogue status despite shining no new light on how these super terrorists were actually funded or by whom. Or why a handful of Baluch natives would be so ticked off at America they wanted to knock down the Trade Center and other assorted skyscrapers. After all, what had we ever done to Baluchistan? Or for that matter Pakistan, other than help them help the Afghanis defeat the Soviets.
Anyway, the writers couldn't help choosing sides, taking the FBI over the CIA (Valerie Plame is just a memory now for lefties), which just so happens to line up well with Eric Holder's view of terrorism. Once again Ali Soufan is a hero while various CIA operators are made to appear as goofballs, know-nothings, or just petty bureaucrats, all save Michael Schuerer, founder of the Alec Station UBL group in CIA and a man who once wrote in a book that UBL was probably working with Saddam, which was flushed down the memory hole years ago.
They also rarely mentioned the name "Bill Clinton" while detailing terrorism in the 90s but had no such trepidation referring to Bush and Cheney in describing their short history on Mohammed between 2001 and his capture in early 2003.
Perhaps the clearest evidence of bias comes not from what was written, but what was not written. They detail the gumshoe vigor of FBI agent Frank Pellegrini in chasing the Baluchi boys for a decade but curiously mention little of informant Emad Salem, the Egyptian mole who had been inserted into the initial World Trade terror cell in 1992 before he got disgusted and pulled out.
Maybe that's because several months later, after a bevy of phone calls from the cell members to Iraq, Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Yasin showed up in New York and later turned the plot from a pipe bomb attack to knocking over two 110 story buildings with a massive cyanide bomb in an effort to murder several hundred thousand innocent New Yorkers.
The writers also provided a new version of the so-called terrorist summit meeting in Kuala Lumpur in 2000, describing only the two 9/11 hijackers in the condo without mentioning others or the fact there was an Iraqi airport greeter there who drove them to the safe house. The CIA was working that one and evidently lost them before they arrived in LA, later finding them but not informing the FBI in DC until a few days before 9/11, meaning we can't blame Robert Mueller while blaming the CIA.
Not all FBI agents got the glory. Ironically one who comes off less than spectacular is the late John O'Neill, G-man turned director of security at the WTC (killed there) who many claim tried to "warn America". The writers claim he was preoccupied with UBL while ignoring KSM because the Baluchi boys were old news or something, almost as if bin Laden was some kind of McGuffin.
And maybe he was. KSM and his Baluchi buds never stopped targeting America, with or without al Qaeda's support. They must be seen at least on the same level of depravity as UBL and Zawahiri and the book tries to correct that perception, which alone makes it worth the read. But elevating KSM might make the narrative problematic. Bin Laden is the kingpin bad guy, public enemy number one, who we got, and who we knew a lot about. We still don't know everything about KSM and crew, and the end is almost near.