Michael Scheuer

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Michael Scheuer is a former CIA counter terrorism expert who headed the unit tasked to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Scheuer is currently a news analyst for CBS News.


Bin Laden's History[edit]

  • Bin Laden's long-standing support for the Palestinians against Israel also appears to have been learned at his father's knee.
    • Through Our Enemies' Eyes (p. 82).
  • In 1993 Osama bin Laden began speaking in detail to Muslim and Western journalists about his beliefs, goals, and intentions, and began publishing commentaries on these matters in the media.... While bin Laden's words have not been a torrent, they are plentiful, carefully chosen, plainly spoken, and precise. He has set out the Muslim world's problems as he sees them; determined that they are caused by the Unites States; explained why they must be remedied; and outlined how he will try to do so. Seldom in America's history has an enemy laid out so clearly the basis for the war he is waging against it.
    • Through Our Enemies' Eyes (pp. 45-6).
  • "Bin Laden, of course, learned his military skills in Afghanistan, not on the Iran-Iraq border, and, as a result, his methodological approach to waging jihad is marked by a measured manner stressing patience, preparation, and professionalism.
    • Through Our Enemies' Eyes (p. 71).
  • The data in the public domain suggest the truth about bin Laden's activities in Afghanistan is much closer to the picture of him as 'the great freedom fighter of the Islamic world" than to the Western experts' description of him as an Islamic do-gooder or an immature, irrational youth.
    • Through Our Enemies Eyes (p. 92)
  • Before the [1990 Iraqi] attack [on Kuwait], bin Laden angered Saudi authorities by making a public "prophesy ... [that] Saddam was going to invade Saudi Arabia." Sa'd al-Faqih claims bin Laden also sent "secret confidential letters to the King" about the Iraqi threat; according to al-Faqih, "he [bin Laden] was giving talks about it in the mosques. He was giving speeches in the mosques and talking about the dangers of the Ba'ath ... having ambitions to invade Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. And then his prophesy was correct. And he was never respected or rewarded for that. Instead he was advised to stay in Jeddah; he was put in sort of house arrest.
    • Through Our Enemies' Eyes (p. 113)

Bin Laden's relationship to Saddam's Iraq[edit]

Quotes from 2002[edit]

  • There is information showing that in the 1993-1994 period bin Laden began to work with Sudan and Iraq to acquire a CBRN capability for al Qaeda.
    • Through Our Enemies Eyes (p. 124) Scheuer later retracted this statement. [1].
  • In Sudan, Bin Laden decided to acquire and, when possible, use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons against Islam's enemies. Bin Laden's first moves in this direction were made in cooperation with NIF [Sudan's National Islamic Front], Iraq's intelligence service and Iraqi CBRN scientists and technicians. He made contact with Baghdad with its intelligence officers in Sudan and by a [Hassan] Turabi-brokered June-1994 visit by Iraq's then-intelligence chief Faruq al-Hijazi; according to Milan's Corriere della Sera, Saddam, in 1994, made Hijazi responsible for "nurturing Iraq's ties to [Islamic] fundamentalist warriors. Turabi had plans to formulate a "common strategy" with bin Laden and Iraq for subverting pro-U.S. Arab regimes, but the meeting was a get-acquainted session where Hijazi and bin Laden developed a good rapport that would "flourish" in the late 1990s.
    • Through Our Enemies Eyes (p. 124)
  • Regarding Iraq, bin Laden, as noted, was in contact with Baghdad's intelligence service since at least 1994. He reportedly cooperated with it in the area of chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear [CBRN] weapons and may have trained some fighters in Iraq at camps run by Saddam's anti-Iran force, the Mujahedin al-Khalq.
    • Through Our Enemies' Eyes (p. 184)
  • We know for certain that bin Laden was seeking CBRN [chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear] weapons . . . and that Iraq and Sudan have been cooperating with bin Laden on CBRN weapon acquisition and development.
    • Through Our Enemies Eyes (p. 192)

Quotes from 2004 and Later[edit]

  • I happened to do the research on the links between al Qaeda and Iraq. (MATTHEWS: And what did you come up with?) SCHEUER: Nothing.
  • The test of an intelligence officer is not so much the ability to accumulate information; it's to judge between different pieces of information, and not to take a piece of information and use it in a piece of analysis simply because it fits your case, but to use it because it either comes from a reliable source like signals intercepts, from a human source that has been vetted over time as a reliable person, or it comes from documentary information -- papers you've stolen from another government or some other organization. The work that came out of Feith's shop that I saw, especially on Al Qaeda and Iraq, was simply ... finding pieces of information in the world of intelligence information that fit the argument they wanted to make. Tenet, to his credit, had us go back 10 years in the agency's records and look and see what we knew about Iraq and Al Qaeda. I was available at the time, and I led the effort. We went back 10 years. We examined about 20,000 documents, probably something along the line of 75,000 pages of information, and there was no connection between [Al Qaeda] and Saddam.

"The Dark Side, PBS Frontline Interview, (22 June 2006).

Assessments of terrorists[edit]

  • It's always been hard for me to understand how we say people who supports Osama Bin Laden or someone else like him – who are willing to give their lives to destroy the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia – how we can describe those people as people who hated freedom. It seems to me that their definition of freedom might be different than ours, but to oppose a dictatorship, one must want freedom in some kind of way.
    • Al-Jazeera TV on September 11 and 12, 2005
  • I think that – you know – we just encountered – America encountered – a brilliant man, and in terms of being a noble cause, it wasn't that many centuries ago that killing in the name of God, or waging war in the name of God, was a major thing in Christianity.
    • Al-Jazeera TV on September 11 and 12, 2005
  • I think the 9/11 Commission, report, for example is wrong. The 9/11 Commission report identifies bin Laden and his followers as takfiris, who kill Muslims if they don‘t agree with them. They‘re not takfiris. They‘re just very devout, severe Salafists and Wahhabis.
    • Hardball with Chris Matthews, November 16 2004
  • [Bin Laden has] already said publicly that you can have all the oil you want. I can‘t drink it. We‘re going to sell it to you at a marketplace.
    • Hardball with Chris Matthews, November 16 2004
  • I don't consider Osama Bin Laden to be a terrorist. I consider him to be a resistance fighter.
    • Roundtable discussion on PBS regarding Islam--April 14th 2006, answering a question posed by Ray Suarez.
  • His motive—his motive is to change our policies, sir. Notwithstanding what the president or Mr. Kerry said during the campaign, he really doesn't give a darn about our democracy or our society. He is after a change in policies which he views as lethal to Muslims.
    • on Osama bin Laden's reasons for wanting to kill Americans
    • Hardball with Chris Matthews, November 16 2004

Bin Laden and Islamic Media[edit]

  • "On balance, the Islamic media's taste for what the West terms sensationalizing and conspiracy mongering is less than meets the eye. Based on my research, it is apparent that the Islamic media's correspondents and editors work harder, dig deeper, and think more than most of their Western counterparts. This is not to say that the Islamic media do not suffer from sensationalized conspiracy theories, but they probably are no more prone to those faults than their Western colleagues."
    • Through Our Enemies' Eyes (p. 280)

On Israel[edit]

  • Well, the clandestine aspect is that, clearly, the ability to influence the Congress--that's a clandestine activity, a covert activity. You know to some extent, the idea that the Holocaust Museum here in our country is another great ability to somehow make people feel guilty about being the people who did the most to try to end the Holocaust. I find--I just find the whole debate in the United States unbearably restricted with the inability to factually discuss what goes on between our two countries.
    • On Israel's alleged "clandestine activities". [2]

On the War in Iraq[edit]

  • I wasn't in the room with the president and Mr. Tenet. But I can tell that you that the people who were working against Osama bin Laden were assured from the first day that much of the work we had done in the last decade would be undone by that war.
    • Hardball with Chris Matthews, November 16 2004
  • Right now, the choice isn't between war and peace. It is between war and endless war.
    • Hardball with Chris Matthews, November 16 2004

Other topics[edit]

  • The Afghan jihad confronted the theoreticians of democratic Islam with a hard reality. The Red Army was not defeated by a democratic revolution, but by an Islamist revolution grounded, guided, and steeled by God's words as found in the Koran and explained by the Prophet. Driven by their faith, the mujhadein [sic] uses bullets, not votes, to win one for Allah, and by so doing revalidated jihad as Islam's normative response to attack.
    • Through Our Enemies' Eyes (p. 106)
  • Musharraf has bent over backwards, sir. Quite frankly, I would have bet my pension that Musharraf would not have done half of what he's done. He's done a tremendous amount for us.
    • on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
    • Hardball with Chris Matthews, November 16 2004
  • He (Osama bin Laden) doesn't want to fight this war forever. A lot of people mistake him as someone who can't get along without fighting. But that's not clearly the case.
    • Hardball with Chris Matthews, November 16 2004
  • "You know, I was born at night but not last night, sir. There is no operation at the CIA that is conducted without approval of lawyers. It is the bane of our existence, and it is a detriment to the defense of America, but, nonetheless, that is the fact."
    • Discussing Extraordinary Rendition of terrorist suspects during testimony to government committees, April 17 2007.