The killing of home grown terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki is a huge success for the American intelligence community that will reverberate through the ranks of al-Qaida, former House Intelligence Committee ranking member Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax.TV.
Hoekstra, who is currently seeking the GOP Senate nomination for the Senate seat held by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the death of Osama bin Laden and now al-Awlaki has the leadership of al-Qaida wondering how the two were located and whether they are next.
“I think this was another huge success again for our intelligence community, for our military, they’re the ones who pulled off this successful attack against what apparently was his convoy,” Hoekstra said.
“Anwar al-Awlaki represented a new breed of al-Qaida, American-born, well-versed in our culture, clearly could articulate to Americans. … His assignment was to try to motivate and develop homegrown terrorists in the United States so there was a new avenue for al-Qaida to get into the United States and attack us. The attackers at Fort Hood, Times Square, the bomber coming into Detroit on the flight on Christmas day, all of these guys one way or another apparently were linked to al-Awlakei. … Taking him out is a huge setback. ”
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The strike by American drones also reportedly killed another U.S. citizen, Samir Khan, who worked on an online al-Qaida magazine that instructed followers on how to carry out attacks.
Hoekstra, a member of the board of Lignet.com, a global intelligence and forecasting website, represented Michigan in the House from 1993 until this January. He passed up a reelection bid to run for Michigan governor but lost the primary to Rick Snyder, who went on to win the general election.
He noted that the expanded use of drones was part of a strategy initially developed during the Bush administration and expanded under the Obama administration has become a very effective part of our anti-terrorism campaign.
“My hats are off to the intelligence community, the military and in this case to the Obama administration for providing the leadership, and the latitude, and the leverage for our intelligence community to go out and do these things and keep America safe.”
While the United States should always be aware of the threat of retaliation after a strike against al-Qaida, the group’s ability to do so has been limited by our successes.
“Every time we have a successful hit we’ve got to be very conscience that al-Qaida would love to retaliate,” he said. “But what we’ve seen over the last few years as we’ve been successful is apparently we have crippled their ability to retaliate in a timely fashion. It doesn’t mean we let down our guard but it does mean that we have severely hampered their capability to hit the United States.”
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