“We’ve killed some of the al Qaeda leaders and every dead al Qaeda leader is a success. But all we have is a body count,” former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
But Scheuer suggested that such individual successes could be misleading.
“We now have al Qaeda – the main al Qaeda – in the Pakistan and Afghanistan theater. We have a fully fledged wing in Yemen. We have a full fledged wing in Iraq, a fully fledged wing in north Africa and a nascent wing in Somalia. How can [al Qaeda] be less threatening to us?”
The threat posed by al Qaeda is “much greater than it was on 9/11,” Scheuer told CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger.
On the same day that John Brennan, a top homeland security adviser to President Obama, said some detainees at the Guantanamo Bay facility would eventually be returned to Yemen, Scheuer suggested that trying to rehabilitate Gitmo detainees was a foolhardy endeavor.
“The Saudis, the Yemenis, they know our system better than we do in many ways. They know we like the idea of people being rehabilitated,” Scheuer told Borger.
“The whole repatriation business is just a nonsense,” Scheuer added. “These people we hold at Guantanamo want to be released, not to be free but to go back to the battlefield [in Iraq and Afghanistan]. And Mr. Brennan, just like the last administration, is really portraying something to the American people that is the farthest thing from the truth.”
Scheuer also suggested the Obama administration was wrongheaded in trying to rely on the struggling government in Yemen to help fight the growing presence of al Qaeda in that war torn country.