Despite the Obama White House’s insistence that the “core” of al Qaeda is “greatly diminished,” a threat from “non-core” al Qaeda is causing two allied superpowers to evacuate Yemen. The US launched drone strikes on its way out; the UK is leaving without a parting shot.
The alerts and evacuations are said to be based on terrorist chatter and in part on “core” al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s call on operatives to “do something.”
Monday afternoon, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the intelligence said to be fueling the widespread US shutdown of embassies and now the evacuation of Yemen is months old.
Al Qaeda “chatter” about coming terrorist operations, mainly against 22 U.S. embassies and consulates, and threats to attack or bomb officials in the Middle East and elsewhere was widely reported in classified intelligence reports over several months. The report said an attack was planned for Sunday, although no attack was carried out.
The intelligence was based on electronic surveillance of al Qaeda communications indicating some type of spectacular bombing or other attacks was being planned and would in fact be carried out very soon.
The timing of the administration’s announced closure of numerous U.S. embassies in the Middle East has raised concerns among some U.S. officials that the Obama administration is politicizing intelligence to distract attention from the Benghazi and other scandals.
“Why is this coming out now?” asked one official with access to terrorist threat data. “Is the administration trying to suck up news coverage with the embassy threats to distract attention from what the CIA was doing in Benghazi?”
Ramadan, the Islamic holy month that also tends to spark terrorist attacks, ends Wednesday, August 7.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama and his allies claimed that al Qaeda is “decimated” and “on the run.” Today, it’s the United States that is on the run.