2012: Obama Wanted to Scale Back Pursuit of Al Qaeda, Intel Community Said No
While the Obama administration was publicly declaring Al Qaeda was on the run during the 2012 election cycle, behind the scenes they were pushing to "scale back the fight" against Al Qaeda. One problem--the intelligence community would not play along.
According to The Daily Beast, the Obama administration produced "a National Intelligence Estimate" in 2012 that said "Al Qaeda was no longer a direct threat to America." However, Defense Intelligence Director General Michael Flynn led a charge against that estimate, and was joined by other figures and agencies in the intelligence community. "Flynn and others made it clear they would not go along with that assessment."
Obama set the tone for the National Intelligence Estimate with his 2012 State of the Union, when he said: "Al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can't escape the reach of the United States of America."
Yet "during the last year alone, Al Qaeda has established safe havens in Libya, Syria, and Iraq."
Even in the face of this reality, the Obama admin continues to spurn the idea of taking the "War on Terror" back up. Instead, an anonymous intelligence official says pressure is still coming "from the top...that Al Qaeda is all these small franchise groups and they are not coordinated or threatening."
To a degree, this explains the Obama administration's reliance on drones and quick military strikes that come with no long term commitment. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the administration simply wants "a series of persistent, targeted efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat specific networks of violent extremists that threaten the United States."
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.