Scott Horton Interviews Michael Scheuer

Scott Horton, July 02, 2009

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Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit and author of Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq, discusses the government’s reliance on CIA covert action instead of conventional military force to protect the U.S., how the Congress and President fail to take meaningful action because they seek the adulation of the media and Europe,  the wisdom in leaving Afghanistan ASAP and how Americans won’t realize their government isn’t protecting them until Osama bin Laden attacks again.

MP3 here. (29:49)

Michael Scheuer is a 22-year veteran of the CIA and the author of Through Our Enemies Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America, Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq and Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror.

37 Responses to “Michael Scheuer”

  1. he makes a good point but there's one glaring problem…. there is no Osama Bin Laden!!!!!!!

  2. Scott Im really glad you arranged for the Mike Scheuer that appears on Fox News to meet the Mike Scheuer that goes on Antiwar Radio. There's quite a bit of space between the two from what I've seen.

    I like Scheuer in a lot of ways, and I really hope that the inconsistency isn't as calculated as it looks, but I think the best I could say at this point is that he's at least heavily tuning his emphasis for the different audiences. I distinctly remember him saying something like this to O'Reilly: "None of these politicians are prepared to deal with this threat because none of them accept that AQ's hatred is based on our policies such as ___. Not that Im saying we should necessarily change our policies." And of course on FN they always reference the book Marching Towards Hell, as opposed to the more provocatively-titled Imperial Hubris.

    In a lot of ways I agree with his basic premise that where there is ACTUAL terrorist infrastructure, sure go in there and smash it to hell, and then get the hell out. Don't engage in these self-defeating occupations. But when he goes on Fox News all the subtlety of Scheuer's point seems to get lost and he ends up sounding like another John Bolton-style cheerleader.

  3. It’s no wonder the US never caught Bin Laden with this wazzock on the job.

    What a fucking crank. He’s beyond parody.

  4. He claims that OBL was impossible for Bush to find prior to 9/11? They should have just asked "The American Taliban" John Walker Lindh -who just sauntered into an Al Queda training camp and was soon partying with OBL.

    This two-bit loser white boy can infiltrate al-queda but not $60 billion/yr CIA?

  5. I thought Scheuer believed in the blowback hypothesis? What good is it if the US military goes and annihilates a country?! That will just cause blowback…I don't get this Scheuer guy. And if he is such a hawk, why did he give Ron Paul a bit of support in the 2008 election? Why would he support someone so contrary to his views?

  6. When I saw that you had given an interview to Mr. Scheuer, I almost gave up on you. But when I listened to the interview, and realized that you weren't going to give him a free pass, it restored my confidence. Keep up the good work.

    I've said from the beginning that this was a LAW ENFORCEMENT issue… and it still is.

    After 911, as long as we were talking about apprehending perpetrators of that heinous crime, we had every nation on the earth behind us. But the Bush Administration cynically used that unifying event to wage a war of imperialism, and now we have lost a great deal of our moral stature and credibility in the world.

    And still, the Congress and the new President won't do anything about the lying murderous thieves on BOTH sides, who got us into this.

    Incredible.

  7. Scott does a good job confronting Michael Scheuer's contradictions. Scheuer has a couple of problems. First, he likes to play the shock jock of counterterrorism by saying outrageous things that he knows will give him an audience. Second, he backs himself into a corner and then defends positions that he has not thought through carefully enough and yet deep down knows are indefensible like torture. He says he supports torture because it is the only tool we have. Rubbish. Once you are pro-torture it's hard to maintain credibility with anyone who has seriously looked at the issue – there is no evidence that torture is on balance an asset to either police or intelligence operations.

  8. Bin Laden is not wanted by the FBI for 9/11, due to lack of evidence.

  9. Hey this kind of reminds me when Scott Horton interviewed that communist Stu Bykosky when he said that "America needs another 9/11."

  10. Hi, Scott.

    Glad to hear the aggressive questioning of Mr. Scheuer. It took listening a couple of times to gleen his position and context.

    So, he's a defensive hawk, wonders how the United States are to be defended, claims Americans would be shocked to find out how poorly we are defended, and points out our suicidal relationship with a "3rd world country, Israel."

    Well, as much as I respect the man's knowledge and experience, I couldn't help but think of Friday nights long ago when me and friends would stay up all night playing Risk. I think he sees the United States as a collective(as in the U.S is, rather than the U.S. are) that needs the military for defense.

    How wonderful there are armed citizens willing to defend their property. I think it hard for some of these government workers to grasp the idea of defending individual liberty, rather than this collective geography called America.

    The sooner our empire collapses, the better we'll all be.

  11. Scheuer has become a complete idiot, having been a partial one previously.

    Of course he wants there to be another attack. Otherwise his hawkish stance would be as stupid as it is.

    I live in NYC, was there on 9/11 and think there are much more cogent ways to defeat terrorists than what Scheuer espouses. He's a scardey cat, like the neocons.

  12. Here is Glenn Beck interviewing Scheuer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcX5xXzbfuc

    I think Scheuer is almost as crazy as Beck. He also may share Cheney's fantasy that it would be good for America to be attacked to wake up the American people so they would demand more security. What do these creeps want, a total lockdown and 24/7 surveillance on every citizen, or perhaps sealing all borders?

  13. As long as you persist in promoting these fantasies that America was "attacked" on 9/11 by 19 Muslim fanatics you are going to be vulnerable to every commentator like Scheuer who sees the solution in invasions, bombings or black ops against the enemy du jour.
    For heavens sake look at the evidence. A scientific paper published in the Open Chemistry and Physics Journal April 2009 showed conclusively the existence of nano-thermite in the debris from the WTC 1, 2 and 7 towers.
    Tell me how Osama bin Laden gained access to this highly sophisticated military grade substance and was then able to insert it in the buildings and you might start to interest others in the crazy myth that OBL was responsible for standing down the US air defence system; getting buildings to defy the laws of physics; arranging for cell phone calls from planes that the FBI said didn't happen; persuading the 9/11 commisssion to ignore vital evidence according to its own chairmen and lead counsel; etc etc.
    Getting OBL to organise another "attack" would in any case be a neat trick given that he has been dead since 2001. Even the CIA would have trouble with that one, notwithstadning their phony videos etc.

  14. How sad such a delusional, amoral, yet calculating lying snake be assigned any credibility at all. He couldn't even help slip in his personal reality (or just usual paid shill passing on some talking point) that China and Saudi Arabia are 'our' enemies.

    And his assertion that 'conspiracy theories' that do not match the media disseminated propaganda are lies because he proposes that hypothetically the entire CIA would have had knowledge and be complicit in nefarious covert special interest activities is a joke.

    The way some of these former CIA guys talk about the CIA is extremely Orwellian.

  15. The point he is trying to make is that, given the reality of american imperialism as a matter of policy, the u.s. should strike hard at the problem or change the policy. He says that torture is the only tool they have to deter and punish the enemy, since they will not use more aggressive means. He is trying to warn people of the blowback that the policy will cause, and points out that if the gov wants to "win", they will need to use the tools necessary to remove the threat. The alternative is to change the policy, which means releasing the empires hold on the middle east.

    I happen to agree, and i believe the policy is fatally flawed and should be changed. If however, the u.s. is aggressed upon, the u.s. should defend its' free people and the rule of law. I also do not believe for one minute that the torture has stopped.

  16. I guess you can't "infiltrate" what you "operate"!

    Seriously.

  17. I have to remind myself time and again that any "former" or current CIA man is a company man and that they've, at everyone else's great expense, sucked long and hard at its teat. To think they'd really back stab their own or deviate from their murderous policies is ridiculous. He is a game master and the more questions to strip away the fantasies he concocts the better.

  18. Of course not! Otherwise they would not have 60 billion to spend on booze and wh*res, like "Dusty" Fogo!

    Lester Ness

  19. Seriously, Bin Ladin (or whoever) do not need to stage another terrorist incident in the US. 9-11-2001 started a cycle of self-destructive behaviors which have crashed the economy and broken the military. All that's needed now is to wait for us to start scapegoating and killing each other even more eagerly than we do already! (Wait for Rod Parsley, eg, to tell his minions "kill the cockroaches"! a la Rwanda.)

    Lester Ness

  20. It is hard, and indeed sad, to resist the conclusion that the good Mr Scheuer, who used to give some appearance of being more or less rational, has at last succumbed to the hysterical fear and panic which have gripped the USA in the last couple of decades and turned it into something Stalin would have been comfortable with. Perhaps it is time for his well-wishers to book him into a nice padded cell and thus give him a chance to grow up.

  21. Simply put Scheuer is a NERD. A fat slumpy white boy used as jerk bait by anyone around him.

    He's beyond naive. It's a twisted naivite typical of the CIA which imagines itself to be an semi mystical organization that "knows" things we don't know. The truth about the CIA is they are idiots, naive, dumb, rural, paranoid, sneaky and corrupt.

    Scheurer is an "expert" on Bin Laden…a person he's never met and of course Scheurer can't read, speak or write Arabic.

    Schuerer is Typical CIA guy. Rural, dumb as a furnace and he's an "expert".

  22. Why is it Scheurer never mentions Israel on Beck, OReilly and the other shill shows? He's controlled op thats why.

  23. Thank you for the courage and knowledge to provide us with another valuable, interesting and informative interview.

  24. Scheurer is a hypocrit who have found a way to make money. He changes stances depending on who is interviewing him. When he is on Beck or any other propaganda show he never speaks up about Israel as a "two bit third world country" and how Israelis hold "300 million US citizens hostage". Why? Because he knows that the ensuing shitstorm will make sure that he does not come there again, ever.

    As for scott, I think he should have pressed him really hard on the pro-torture stance he got. I mean torture is a no-brainer, it is not hard to make a pro-torture clown see that torture is not only wrong, inhumane, barabric and brutal – but also totally useless from an intelligence standpoint. Torture is not a good way to get information, it is a good way to make the victim say what he thinks you want to hear. Scott really disappointed in that regard, that he just left the torture issue be.

    What does this CIA goon think he will get from torture? Don't tell me it is that "ticking bomb" scenario out of the TV show 24. He keeps saying that USA should not do stuff that makes people hate USA, well guess what having a system of torture is one of those things. Why did Obama censor the last pictures of people getting broomsticks shoved up their rectums? Because he knows that such information will make people snap, and seek retaliation against USA: Torture makes people hate you, plain and simple. And all his talk about how we need to escalate violence, he sounds just like the likudists and kahanists in Israel. But then again, what do you expect from a CIA thug.

    Greetings from Iran.
    Nova.

  25. Intent is a given as there is consensus along the political spectrum (from Noam Chomsky to Ron Paul) that al Qaeda was motivated by US foreign policy in the Middle East.

    Capability is another story. The true capability of al Qaeda is unknown. The reason being we still don't know why Alec Station withheld from the FBI the fact that al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar were in the US for 20 months. We don't know why Rice, Hadley and Clarke failed to bring the FBI into the loop despite receiving dire warnings from Tenet and Rich B. on 7/10/01. We don't know why the CIA refused to help FBI Cole investigators by providing information about the al Qaeda meeting in Malaysia in 1/00. We don't know why the NSA failed to use FISA to track al Qaeda operatives in the US. We don't know why the FBI RFU and UBLU obstructed their fellow FBI agents from pursuing al Qaeda investigations. We don't know what (alleged triple agent) Ali Mohamed was asked to do for various government agencies.

    Scheuer told author Steve Coll that before 9/11 the Saudi royal family protected Bin Laden. Sen. Graham alleges that al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar were funded and supported by Saudi government employees. If this is true it means that al Qaeda was a state sponsored terrorist organization. Journalists like Greg Palast allege that US intelligence was ordered to back off Saudi links to terrorism.

    Nobody at the CIA has told the truth to the American public. They haven't explained the contradictory conduct. If indeed al Qaeda was as serious a threat as we have been told then one would think two known al Qaeda operatives wouldn't be free to roam around the US planning a major terrorist attack. Even after the Cole attack the information wasn't shared.

    What are we talking about? Incompetence? Risk aversion? Corruption? Treason?

  26. hey love you scott but you really dropped ball not nailing down this fat ass equivocator on OBL … all anyone needs to know about the OBL myth is when Bhutto told David Frost that OBL was dead and Frost, a lifetime zombie, didnt even blink–the biggest bombshell of his long career dropped in his lap and nothing … listening to scheuer was a long yawn, why even bring clowns like this on w/o popping their bubble whenever possible … Scott, nut up and destroy Ignoc scum every chance you can

  27. [...] Scott Horton Interviews Michael Scheuer http://dissentradio.com/radio/09_07_01_scheuer.mp3 http://antiwar.com/radio/2009/07/02/michael-scheuer-10/ [...]

  28. The Taliban offered to extradite O. b. L., if given a fig-leaf of evidence. It ought to have been easy to have him tried and hanged in Pakistan. But it would not look dramatic on TV, and, in the USA, power grows out of the barrel of a TV camera. A war in Afghanistan offered the opportunity of pushing the "Unitary Executive" (=Byzantine Autocracy) view of the presidency. A war in Iraq offered the prospect of either stealing a lot of oil or speeding up the Rapture. Perhaps both appealed to GWB.

  29. A comment to "Cliff". Mike Scheuer said on FN; "None of these politicians are prepared to deal with this threat because none of them accept that AQ's hatred is based on our policies such as ___. Not that Im saying we should necessarily change our policies."

    This is not a contradiction: AQ:s hatred is based on US policies according to Scheuer. He's simply saying that politicians in power should know what's motivating their enemies. Then when they understand what's motivating them, the politicians can start to think about what actions to take. If the US wants to change their policies towards the middle east it's up to them to do so. Scheuer doesn't argue for US policies to change, he's just making a small hint.

  30. Concerning Scheuers' position on torture;

    I think that if the US military or Intelligence torture people this will not only make more terrorists, but make muslims hate America more. So this is a contraproductive strategy in the long run. Therefore it's somewhat inconsistent of Scheuer to argue that torture is a good method to keep America safe. For the sake of Scheuers' argument, logically speaking, he should be arguing against torture. Then again, he doesn't consider water-boarding torture… In such case, his argument is sound.

  31. Another point; he has often said that the enhanced interrogation techniqies (read torture) has been approved by senior politicians, the President etc. and thus legitimate, and therefore people who used these techniqies can't be responsible. In my view, this reminds me of the Nazis who were just "following orders", but were convicted anyway (many were hanged), because there are norms of conduct in war (Geneva convention) which needs to be respected. It also sound like Nixon: "When the President does it, it's not illegal".

    A Swedish journalist made a good point regarding this issue. He argued that if an intelligence officer torture suspects and gain information which stop terrorist attacks, make a court rule on whether his actions were legitimate or neccessary. If not, the officer should be convicted and sentenced to prison.

    In sum, I do agree now, after had listen to the show, that Scheuer doesn't provide a good answer to why his argument is not turned over because of his position on torture.

    Marcus/
    Sweden

  32. Michael Scheuer IS Osama bin Laden. Just read his two books, "Through our Enemies Eyes" and "Imperial Hubris". Scheuer's identification with bin Laden is total. He is the creator of the bin Laden myth. The real bin Laden died in late 2001. The "bin Laden" we are chasing is the mythical bugaboo created by Scheuer. Scheuer is the the jolliest bloody fiend you will ever meet. He just loves it that he has the whole country bamboozled with his "bin Laden" shtick.

  33. My friend what he is saying is the United States should put in policies that are in the best interest of the American people. For instance, his view is that the US should not aid a warmongering country such as Israel (which causes attacks on Americans). He is saying that Al Quida will bring a bomb over the American border and kill Americans therefore we should protect our border. If a member of Al Quida is looking to attack Americans in the US with a nuclear bomb it is okey to torture someone to get the information to stop it. He is saying that the US should be nuetral in disputes between other countries.
    Peace to you and the people of Iran

  34. It is not good to annihilates a country. Yes that causes blowback. The reason Schueur says we would need to annihihliate a country is because of our governmant is "entangled" with other countries. Lets end our entaglements, mind our own business. However if we need to protect American lives then lets annihilate a country.

  35. He does not want another attack. He wants us to change our governmants policies so we stop angering people and making them want to attack us.

  36. He does mention Israel. Go to youtube and put in glenn beck schueur and israel. You will see him denounce Israel hardcore and outdebate some zionist who used to work for netanyahooo

  37. no Shueur thinks the US should not protect Tiawan, Israel, aand Western Europe because this would cause the loss of American lives. American intilligence officers should engage in torture or war if it is necassary to protect American lives. He is a patriot who wants to protect American lives. He wants to put America first. American lives are what is important . I and he can't understand why other Americans first.

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