Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
This recent article in the Air Force Times quotes Ambassador Sheehan, the new Assisitant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, and the former head of NYPD's Counter-terrorism Division, as saying: " Al-Qaida wasn’t as good as we thought they were on 9/11. Quite frankly, we, the American people, were asleep at the switch, the U.S. government, prior to 9/11. So an organization that wasn’t that good looked really great on 9/11,” Sheehan told a room full of special operators in Washington who were attending an annual Special Operations, Low Intensity Conflict Planning Conference. “Everyone looked to the skies every day after 9/11 and said, ‘When is the next attack?’ And it didn’t come, partly because al-Qaida wasn’t that capable. They didn’t have other units here in the U.S. … Really, they didn’t have the capability to conduct a second attack.”
It is good that a high ranking American official has finally come out and made this statement publicly. It would have been better if it had been done sooner and had not had to wait for Ambassador Sheehan to return to Federal service.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College (USAWC). The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of USAWC and/or the US Army.
This has been Sheehan's position for a long time. He and and I have discussed it quite a lot. pl