Michael Scheuer

Ex-Head of CIA’s Osama Unit says Ron Paul “exactly correct”

Michael Scheuer, the former head analyst at the CIA’s bin Laden unit, has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Republican Presidential debate held Tuesday May 15, when Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) stated that American foreign policy was a “contributing factor” in the 9/11 attacks.

“They attack us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.” Paul said. He was then denounced by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who said it was “absurd” and that he’d “never” heard such a thing before demanding a retraction.

In an interview with Antiwar.com’s Antiwar Radio on May 18, Scheuer, who was the head analyst at the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Alec Station, and authored the books Through Our Enemies Eyes and Imperial Hubris, said “I thought Mr. Paul captured it the other night exactly correctly. This war is dangerous to America because it’s based, not on gender equality, as Mr. Giuliani suggested, or any other kind of freedom, but simply because of what we do in the Islamic World – because ‘we’re over there,’ basically, as Mr. Paul said in the debate.”

Scheuer also agreed with Dr. Paul’s statement in the debate that the war in Iraq was a diversion from capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and that bin Laden was “delighted” that the U.S. is occupying Iraq as it has become a training ground and recruiting tool for new jihadists joining the movement.

MP3 here.

Michael Scheuer is a 22-year veteran of the CIA and the author ofThrough Our Enemies Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America and Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror.

  • Dave Palagiewicz

    It is insane to believe that the U.S. would be targeted by so-called extremists due to the amount of “freedoms” they exercise. The fact of the matter is that there are many European countries that have more freedoms than the United States and they are in no particular danger, or have they even been threatened by these “extremists.” The truth is simple, the United States is an aggressor to these middle eastern states in every facet. These states are protecting themselves the best way they know how. If they had the fire power or technology to do so, don’t you think they would commandeer an attack with missiles or jet planes rather than plotting “terrorist” attacks?

    • tomadeimy

      Undoubtedly, I believe “terrorism” is a tactic used against a much superior force in manpower, and munitions.

    • english and sensible

      If you are an American citizen try watching the BBC – not CNN (Censored Nationalist Nonsense)and find out what your country is doing to the world. Extolling the virtues of “Freedom” is not why you are in Iraq. It is for oil, plain and simple. If it was to stop Al-quieda you have invaded the wrong country!!!

    • Neelan J

      A straight forward attack would be as effective. It would utilize more fire power, and chances are the attack would be detected before hand. Terrorist attacks are sneakier and can cause more damage by hitting precise targets. The twin towers was clever in that it helped destabilize the US economy.

      Sometimes you have to be the aggressor…

    • Tara

      So the Madrid Bombings and London never happened? I agree with you in that we asked for it. But I would not say that Europe is any more safe. I live here- Europeans get threats all the time from "terrorists".

  • David Worner

    I just finished your book Imperial Hubris. I tend to agree with most of your work; however, I would like to ask if it is possible that this war is simply a political tool being used so the republicans can maintain power. This war was decided upon by the neocons as you say. Their idea is to be at war constantly so they can maintain power..see Leo Strauss.. They don’t want the war to be won or for it to end.This way they can maintain power. This administration decided they were going to war then tried to come up with reasons to convince the US and the world that it was necessary. Thhis war was started by politicians for political gains. At this point ithas worked because Bush is still in office. He doesn’t care about the military and the lives lost. It is only important to him that he remains in power as it was for the neocons. See youtube press luncheon of Bush making fun of the fact that there were no WMD’s. as this decision cost the lives of more than 2000 people at that time.

    • dizzyfingers

      "Friends" of ALL administrations (i.e. presidents) and ALL congresspeople (whose hands are in the friends' tills) imagine/design/manufacture/sell weapons systems. This is good for government and "good for the economy" (i.e. jobs).

      When you follow the money, which is the answer to all unanswered questions, you see that ALL administrations are "in it" up to the tips of their head hairs and it's republicrats and demopublicans as well as whatever "other" stripe may be out there. If the other stripe wasn't in it before being elected, they will be soon after.

      None of you is cynical enough to see the truth of the matter. War is lucrative, convenient, and probably necessary for politicians — on both sides of the US aisle as well as politicians elsewhere. It justifies nearly everything one can imagine, so the public is snookered again, and again, and again, and again.

  • zehr

    As a muslim , i agree with some of Mr scheuer points for causes of all the violence.But with all due respect he still doesnt have the proper knowledge to comment about religion of islam .Some of the comments he made about islam & Prophet in his interview (mp3) ,is absolutely incorrect and twisted . Enough with the dialogue , on why all the violence happening ,at this point everything is clear ,ie who the liars & opressors are etc.The focus should be how to stop & prevent the excalation in the future . both bush & bin laden has political agenda,yes , but the most important task right now is to start giving justice to the victims , this is the only way we can solve this.So Unless we are really honest to ourselves and point out the victims and stand up for justice ,this violence will devide all of us , and surely majority of us in the world are good hearted people.so it would be a shame to end up hating eachother.

    • mark williams

      The Muslims want justice. Would the justice be based on Koran or man’s laws?
      Who cares. Any way that works out for you Muslims.

  • Matt

    The military needs to be respected and thanked. The United States stands for freedom and liberty, if that at all means anything to you…stand up for whats right. I can’t stand to see people telling lies and not telling the truth for what it really is, parents who have children need to tell them the truth and tell them how America was established and what founding principles this country was built upon. I don’t know everything and I still have much to learn but I at least know the deffinition of freedom and what means to be free. If a time comes when our country is attacked, I’ll be ready and I sure as hell won’t run.

    • mark williams

      Thank god we have a brave one. I’m sure to be hiding under the table while you fight to save my life. You are my hero. I hope you recover from the bullet wounds.

    • dizzyfingers

      We in the U.S. aren't as free as you believe but it's better than many places. I appreciate your and hope that you never become disappointed and cynical.

  • steve webb

    America is facing a 9.4 trillion dollar national debt, balance the budget or repaying it’s loans

    is unattainable. Our economy is diminishing our role in the world. America’s strategic plan

    is to influence or control as much world oil reserve as it can. Who has to depend on imported

    oil the most, China, India, Europe and Japan. Mexico has oil and Canada has oil sand, which

    may account for the vision of a multi-currency (Amiro) ideology.

    The Iraq invasion was a bad mistake, and misguided, but not for the greed of few.

    Oil exported from Iraq, the monetary revenue is going into U.S. Banks. To have access

    to those funds, the Iraqi governmental body must sign long term agreements to U.S. Bases

    in Iraq. The danger next is for Iran and Venezuela both have large oil reserves.

    To attain Iran would be a hard sale to the America people for war failure in Iraq , and the U.S.

    economy. The alignment between U.S. And Israel serves that purpose.

    If Israel attacks Iran, it has U.S. Backing with military option.

    Must the world risk peace for the self interest of the U.S. Government?

  • Bill

    I have read Mr. Scheuer’s books and articles and have seen him do many interviews. He obviously believes himself to be brilliant and that Bill Clinton is to blame for everything related to our response, or lack thereof, to terrorism. I’m not a Democrat (in fact, I’m Republican though over the past couple years I tend to be more Independent), but when you read what he says, as much as he claims not to be partisan, that is hard to believe. Besides blaming Clinton for not getting bin Laden nor taking action as he had suggested, he seems to forget how the Republicans blasted Clinton for whatever action (recall when cruise missiles were launched) and how the Republican Congress did not support Clinton on any action (recall wagging the dog).

    Putting politics aside, I have but only a couple questions for Mr. Scheuer which no one seems to address, including himself. He was head of the bin Laden group in the CIA, and on numerous occasions blasts Clinton for his inaction (at least a dozen times he claims) for not getting bin Laden. And Mr. Scheuer was able to predict exactly how Iraq and Afghanistan would play out. He knew everything, it seems.

    So I’d like Mr. Scheuer to address a couple questions. If he was so right, and Clinton and others did not act on what he knew to be such precise information always after the fact, why didn’t he resign and tell us then? Why, if he knew so much then, and had so much ‘precise knowledge’ ahead of time, did he not predict the events, or even know of the events, that happened under his watch, the very ones that happened (bombings in other countries, and even the Cole bombing, since he was still in the CIA though not head of the bin Lade unit then)and then he blames everyone else for what has happened since?

    Mr. Scheuer, you were in charge of the unit gathering information on bin Laden. You claim now, after the fact, to have known so much and yet you let it slide under your watch when no one (Tenet, Clinton, etc) did what you recommended, things that you claim may have thwarted 9/11. I say you let it slide, Mr. Scheuer, because you did not speak up and expose what you saw and knew then. Why, Mr. Scheuer, did you not tell us then, before 9/11, or before any of the other attacks for which bin Laden was responsible? Because hindsight is 20-20 and you can spin it any way you wish to fit your agenda and sell books.

    I used to think Mr. Scheurer was a reputable source of information. After reading this books and articles, it is apparent he has an ax to grind against everyone, Clinton, Bush, Tenet, etc and he is THE only person who knew the right course all along.

    Read his books, see how his messages changed and decide for yourself. The more I have read, the more it has changed my view of his so-called ‘expertise’.

    • mark williams

      He can’t just resign and tell the American about the spy agency secret. That would be treason. Scheuer will be charged and hung. Even his books must be cleared from the CIA first. Duh!

  • Timothy

    Mr. Scheuer is not a credible source or expert on this topic or any other. By his ridiculous and untrue statements, especially regarding US support for Israel, he has eliminated himself from serious consideration as someone whose opinions should be respected.

    Anyone can write a book. The issue is, What does the book say? Mr. Scheuer does not, in his books or his public statements, say anything worth listening to. He should be ignored.

  • Housebird

    In Michael Scheuer in his book ” Marching toward Hell America and Islam after Iraq” repeats more than once the stupid assertion that the Israeli-Arab conflict is an endless religious war !!!!

    It is about the theft of Palestine land !!!!!

    Plain and simple !!!!

    • dizzyfingers

      Jews had been around long before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
      Around 600 A.D. or 650 A.D., Muhammet had his dream after which he invented Islam.
      So who stole from whom?
      It's impossible to tell, but there are signs that the designation "Palestine" is a recent invention.

      "Palestine vs. Israel as the Name of the Holy Land by Thomas S. McCall, Th.D.
      Dr. Thomas McCall… holds a Th.M. in Old Testament studies and a Th.D. in Semitic languages and Old Testament.
      Current Propaganda’s Use of Palestine

  • Al Ulmer

    I would like to ask Michael Scheuer why he has not told the public who the CIA opperative by the name of Tim Osman is? If you don't know, google it.

  • dizzyfingers

    There is a propaganda war going on now with regard to the term “Palestine.” At one time it might have been argued that Palestine was an innocuous designation of the Middle Eastern area, that is generally thought of as the Holy Land. During the last few decades, however, the term Palestine has been adopted by Arabs living in Israel in the area west of the Jordan River. It is specifically employed to avoid the use of the name Israel, and must be considered an anti-Israel term.

  • dizzyfingers

    In all Arab maps published in Jordan, Egypt, etc., the area west of the Jordan River is called Palestine, without any reference to Israel. Palestine is the term now used by those who want to deny the legitimate existence of Israel as a genuine nation among the family of nations.
    The term now adopted by the political entity within Israel that is gradually obtaining more and more pockets of territory through the “peace process,” is “the PA (Palestinian Authority). Although it must deal daily with Israeli officials, the PA hates to use the term Israel in any of its communications. Palestine, therefore, must now be considered a political propaganda term with massive anti-Israel implications. The world press uses the term to question the legitimacy of modern Israel. Christians also have used the term Palestine for centuries in referring to the Holy Land. In earlier times this might have been excused (although biblically questionable) because of its common usage. In light of the current propaganda war against Israel, however, Christians must now re-evaluate the term Palestine and consider whether it is biblically, theologically or prophetically accurate.

  • dizzyfingers

    Biblical Use of Palestine
    The term Palestine is rarely used in the Old Testament, and when it is, it refers specifically to the southwestern coastal area of Israel occupied by the Philistines. It is a translation of the Hebrew word “Pelesheth.” The term is never used to refer to the whole land occupied by Israel. Before Israel occupied the land, it would be generally accurate to say that the southwestern coastal area was called Philistia (the Way of the Philistines, or Palestine), while the central highlands were called Canaan. Both the Canaanites and the Philistines had disappeared as distinct peoples at least by the time of the Babylonian Captivity of Judea (586 B.C.), and they no longer exist.
    In the New Testament, the term Palestine is never used. The term Israel is primarily used to refer to the people of Israel, rather than the Land."

  • Bob Drasner

    I have seen and heard you numerous times and have always admired your clarity and conviction.

    There is something that I find most interesting …

    If I was to organize something like the 9-11 attacks … there is one element that would be most helpful … and that would be if the Air Traffic Controllers would be confused to where their reactions and directions would be slowed down … their interactions with the military all slowed down. These additional moments, here and there … these delays would facilitate the grand plan.

    Through these 10 years, I have tried to contact anyone and everyone that I could think of and never got any sort of reply about what I am going to share …

    On September 11, every Air Traffic Controller, in the United States, that had ANY Seniority (experience) was in New Orleans at a “Convention”. I know this is true because I was there!

    Is there ANY wonder why the inexperienced controllers that were left ended up so confused.

    Isn’t that fact even a little bit interesting to ANYONE?

  • Steve Jobs

    I like the MP3, for it has Canada Goose songs in it http://goo.gl/ytK2I

  • kabelek

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  • polli


    This article has long been out of date?