Report: Biden May Have Overstated the Role of Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri

Photo: Reuters [via The New York Times]

The Facts

  • A New York Times report released Mon. suggests that Biden may have exaggerated when claiming that the slain Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was the architect of the USS Cole bombing in 2000 and that he was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11.

  • Though it's undisputed Zawahiri was the deputy to Osama bin Laden and became the head of Al-Qaeda in 2011, counterterrorism and intelligence officials speaking to the Times said that, as a matter of historical accuracy, Biden's words went beyond how experts regarded his role in both those attacks.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

This killing is likely to put Al-Qaeda into a leadership crisis at a critical moment for the global jihadist movement. As the US seeks to focus on other national security issues, this blow to Al-Qaeda's structure might prove to be a decisive step toward eradicating the threat of terrorism.

Establishment-critical narrative

Everything concerning this killing should disturb us. We have once again witnessed the US extrajudicially assassinate someone rather than bring them to court to face justice. Zawahiri, like Osama bin Laden, had skeletons in his closet about the US and those secrets will die with him.

Nerd narrative

There's a 47% chance that Afghanistan will be used as a base for anti-NATO terrorism before 2026, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Public figures in this story

Establishment split



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