Defending his decision to hand Afghanistan over to the Taliban, President Biden reassured the nation that the U.S. will have an “over-the-horizon capability” to combat any terror threats.
As it happens, the “over-the-horizon” concoction was first announced by the Pentagon on July 6 when the U.S. still expected the Afghan government to remain in place. But either way, Biden’s claim that military capability outside of the country will somehow protect us from terrorist plots hatched in Afghanistan is laughable.
While the National Security Agency can still intercept Taliban communications, the terrorist group is too smart to communicate terror plots by phone. The only way to uncover these plots is by infiltrating Taliban cells and other terrorist groups that are now flocking to Afghanistan.
That is the job of the CIA, which runs spies out of the embassy and dispatches so-called illegals to try to pick up intelligence about impending plots.
But now the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan is gone, and running illegals as spies who have no diplomatic immunity in a country controlled by ruthless killers is far too dangerous. Because Afghanistan is now denied territory unlike any other area of the world, the CIA will not be able to penetrate it.
On top of his prevarication about an over-the-horizon capability, Biden had the temerity to claim that al-Qaeda is “gone” from Afghanistan. In fact, the Taliban have always worked hand-in-glove with al-Qaeda.
As Biden spoke, the Taliban had already freed thousands of al-Qaeda and ISIS fighters in jailbreaks. They quickly seized weapons, drones, and aircraft paid for by the U.S. and left behind by the defeated Afghan army.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is wanted by the FBI for his alleged role in the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul, had already returned triumphantly to the country.
Haqqani and his terrorist network are closely allied with al-Qaeda and have a reputation for frequently using suicide bombers to carry out assaults on military installations and embassies.
Even as Biden spoke, the Taliban had placed senior leaders of Haqqani’s network in charge of security in Kabul. And the U.S. is going to uncover terrorist plots by Haqqani, who has a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, with “over-the horizon capability?”
After 9/11, the FBI transformed itself into an agency that focuses first on stopping foreign terrorist plots and second on prosecutions. Arthur M. “Art” Cummings II, who headed counterterrorism investigations as the FBI’s executive assistant director, told agents that locking up terrorist suspects could actually put this country at risk.
Instead of bringing a prosecution, the primary goal should be gathering intelligence to penetrate terrorist organizations and prevent future plots.
The new approach has been remarkably successful. With the help of tips from NSA and the CIA, the FBI has rolled up plots to the point where there has not been a successful foreign terrorist attack since 9/11.
But now the FBI will face an onslaught of plots from Afghanistan, which Biden has allowed to become a safe haven for terrorists financed by the entire country, all bent on undertaking suicide missions against the U.S. far more devastating than we saw on 9/11.
Biden sought to minimize his withdrawal from Afghanistan by saying terrorists now operate throughout the world.
But in most of the rest of the world, law enforcement and security forces try to roll up terrorist plots, and the CIA is able to tip the FBI to terrorist planning. Aside from Afghanistan, even hostile governments do not want to be responsible for a direct hit on the U.S.
For my book “The Secrets of the FBI,” Dr. Vahid Majidi, an assistant FBI director who was the chief of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, told me that when American forces invaded Afghanistan after 9/11, they found that al-Qaeda was working on what Majidi called a “nascent” weapons of mass destruction effort involving chemical and biological weapons.
This was in line with Osama bin Laden’s dictum that al-Qaeda should develop and use weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.
One attack using biological agents brought in, for example, through our open southern border could wipe out millions of Americans.
Because of Biden’s irresponsibility in ceding Afghanistan to the Taliban, we will be unable to uncover WMD plots against America as they are hatched. If Biden lied about an al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan, his biggest lie was to suggest that we could uncover and neutralize terrorist plots in Afghanistan from afar.
How could anyone--much less the president--be so irresponsible and place our country at grave risk?
Consider that Biden's Secret Service agents told me for my book "The First Family Detail" that to burnish his image as regular Joe when he was vice president, Biden ordered the military aide with the nuclear football to remain at least a mile behind his motorcade when touring around Wilmington.
If President Obama had been taken out, there would have been no time even in normal traffic for the military aide with the nuclear football to catch up with Biden in time to order a counterstrike to save the U.S. from complete annihilation in a nuclear attack.
Such unthinkable irresponsibility helps explain Biden's dereliction of duty in Afghanistan, placing our lives in jeopardy for years to come.
Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, is the New York Times bestselling author of “The Secrets of the FBI” and “The CIA at War.”
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