CBS Terrorism Analyst Notes 'Huge Progress' In War On Terror

June 16th, 2006 5:31 PM

On this morning’s "Early Show" CBS terrorism analyst and former FBI agent Christopher Whitcomb told co-host Hannah Storm that he believes the seized al Qaeda documents are believable, i.e. the ones where al Qaeda admits it’s losing in Iraq, and that the United States is making significant progress in the overall war on terrorism.

Ms. Storm began her interview of Mr Whitcomb inquiring about the authenticity of these al Qaeda memos:

"The Iraqi government has released a document it said was found at the site of the bombing when al Zarqawi was killed. Actually, the U.S. government says it was found a few weeks before on a hard drive. But the bottom line is this document says that al Qaeda's weakening. It's an al Qaeda document, supposedly. Do you buy it? Can we take it at face value?"

In reply, Whitcomb gave a positive assessment on the progress being made in the fight against al Qaeda:

"I do buy it, and I'll tell you this. Behind the scenes, what people don't know is that we have made great strides fighting al Qaeda. We've disrupted their communications, we've disrupted their fund-raising, their recruitment, their training, all of their operations around the world. We've seen nothing since 9/11 here in the United States and pretty much around the world."

Storm later inquired about the insurgency in Iraq. She noted that since Zarqawi’s death the military has pulled off a series of raids killing insurgents, but she wondered if this is effective:

"U.S. officials say over 100 insurgents have been killed since al Zarqawi's death in this series of raids. Is that an effective way to shut down the insurgency?"

Whitcomb was unequivocal in his response:

"Yeah, it certainly is. You've got to disrupt by chopping the head off the organization. We know al Zarqawi is out. That he was doing most of the operations in Iraq. Getting rid of that is a big part. But actually stopping the operational planning, their ability to communicate, their fund-raising, disrupting all of those things is going to stop part of the insurgency..."

Taking all this into consideration caused Hannah Storm to ponder:

"So we are making progress in the war on terror?"

Again Whitcomb was unequivocal in his response:

"Huge progress. Anyone you talk to will tell you the same thing. That we know of very little money that they have that we've disrupted their recruiting, their operations in every way. Al Qaeda, as most people understand it, is not an effective organization now. It's not the organization it was at 9/11. It's certainly not even the organization it was a year ago."

But once again, while other news outlets are trying to bury the story about the seized al Qaeda memos and the progress being made in the war on terror, CBS is highlighting it’s importance.

In a separate issue, earlier in the program, CBS News Capitol Hill Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson referred to the debate in Congress regarding whether troops should remain committed in combat areas until victory is secured or if a set time table for withdrawal should be outlined instead and the vote on the underlying resolution as not a real debate but:

"The framework of this debate on the war more than three years after the first missiles were fired, was decided by Republicans who were anxious in this election year to force Democrats to come down officially on one side or the other. Think of it not so much as a real debate with a real chance of changing anything about the war in Iraq, it's more of a political dare..."

With the progress Christopher Whitcomb noted in the war on terror, it would be folly to set a timetable for withdrawal until total victory is completed. The resolution being referred to Ms. Attkisson, is not a so much a political dare, but a statement of support for continued success in the overall war on terrorism.