Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bin Laden wanted Bush to be re-elected

Osama's Ploy

So, in fall 2004, with Bush fighting for his political life in a tight race against Democrat John Kerry, bin Laden took the risk of breaking nearly a year of silence to release a videotape denouncing Bush on the Friday before the U.S. election.

Bush's supporters immediately spun bin Laden's tirade into his "endorsement" of Kerry and pollsters recorded a jump of several percentage points for Bush, from nearly a dead heat to a five- or six-point lead. Four days later, Bush hung on to win a second term by an official margin of less than three percentage points. [See's "The Bush-Bin Laden Symbiosis."]

The intervention by bin Laden - essentially urging Americans to reject Bush - had the predictable effect of driving voters to the President. After the videotape appeared, senior CIA analysts concluded that ensuring a second term for Bush was precisely what bin Laden intended.

"Bin Laden certainly did a nice favor today for the President," said deputy CIA director John McLaughlin in opening a meeting to review secret "strategic analysis" after the videotape had dominated the day's news, according to Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine, which draws heavily from CIA insiders.

Suskind wrote that CIA analysts had spent years "parsing each expressed word of the al-Qaeda leader and his deputy, [Ayman] Zawahiri. What they'd learned over nearly a decade is that bin Laden speaks only for strategic reasons. ... Today's conclusion: bin Laden's message was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection."

From Robert Parry's "Is Bush a Clear and Present Danger?":


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