Bin Laden: Lost and Found

May 3rd, 2011

Back in February, I had the opportunity to speak with Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit. At that time Scheuer made the case that Bin Laden was still relevant and that the US and its allies needed to continue to stay focused on pursing Bin Laden. Now that effort has been successful. Bin Laden is gone. Yet a story in today's New York Times states that Al Qaeda is unlikely to be handicapped by the killing of Bin Laden who, the Times says, has been long removed from managing terrorist operations and whose popularity in the Muslim world has plummeted. So is this effort, no matter how successful, only symbolic and how will it impact a Middle East in revolutionary transition?

To try and address all of this I once again spoke to Michael Scheuer. He was the chief of the CIA's Bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999 and remained a counter-terrorism analyst until 2004. Most recently he wrote Osama Bin Laden My conversation with Michael Scheuer: