October 31, 2019

Retired CIA Chief of Station, Brad Johnson on the killing of Baghdadi

 

 

 

 
Brad Johnson it is October 27th 2019 and
00:03
we heard the news this morning last
00:06
night that the new Osama bin Laden
00:09
al-baghdadi is dead again and I know
00:14
that these JD’s they have this there
00:16
it’s whack-a-mole with these guys you
00:18
think you got them and they pop out
00:20
another hole it seems to be a strategy
00:23
of Islamic state entities al Qaeda
00:26
whatever front name that that is
00:30
manifest destiny Islam wants to use what
00:33
is to constantly report their leaders as
00:36
dead and then have them resurrected when
00:39
it’s convenient but this time it looks a
00:41
little better why don’t you tell us what
00:42
you’re thinking what the analysis is on
00:44
this what difference does it make I
00:45
guess is the big question well I guess
00:48
let’s get to that last first of all yes
00:51
they do as a normal practice kind of
00:54
staged their own deaths or reported or
00:56
exaggerated or so on and and you have to
00:58
look at it it’s a basic security
00:59
strategy you know if if they think if we
01:02
the United States for the Allies the
01:04
West think that al-baghdadi is dead we
01:07
stopped looking for him so they’ll
01:08
they’ll play those things up and and
01:10
this last time I believe it was in 2010
01:13
he was reported to be dead and in a
01:16
bombing or a drone attack and ended up
01:19
escaping and apparently for the most
01:21
part unharmed but went quiet for a
01:23
couple years and I wasn’t seeing
01:25
publicly for a long time and that’s
01:27
basic security strategy so these guys do
01:29
use that they do understand security
01:30
they do have access to good training and
01:33
those sorts of things so they they
01:34
understand these concepts well now of
01:37
course he still has to run an
01:38
organization so eventually I think and
01:40
it was in 2014 he came out public again
01:43
and was doing recordings so on it could
01:45
have been because he was wounded that he
01:47
was quiet it could have been for
01:48
basically security it was quiet maybe
01:50
both but this time it’s much different
01:53
this time they they they saw him we knew
01:56
where he was and the Kurds of come out
01:58
and said that this was done in
02:00
conjunction as an intelligence program
02:02
so I mean we all know what that means
02:04
what they did is this was a CIA program
02:06
which kudos for intelligence the
02:08
president just within the last hour came
02:11
out and did a press conference and paid
02:13
a lot of compliment
02:13
to the CIA for what they’ve done so the
02:16
Kurds have said it was intelligence in
02:18
the president said it was the CIA
02:19
involved so we can go ahead and operate
02:21
on that which you know that’s not a
02:24
surprise if I may say but now that
02:26
others have mentioned it publicly we
02:28
can’t – so CIA run operation to gather
02:30
the intelligence done jointly with their
02:32
overseas partners in this case the Kurds
02:34
so this is one of the times where these
02:37
things work well and is one of the main
02:39
elements of what the CIA is supposed to
02:41
do so well I’m not a necessarily huge
02:44
fan of the current director of the CIA
02:46
gene Aspel credit where credit’s due
02:48
they’ve done a good job on this they’ve
02:50
done exactly what they were supposed to
02:51
do they ran into ground put it together
02:54
and then we’re able to report it back
02:55
over real time and just to summarize
02:58
last night around five o’clock they went
03:00
live with the operation that’s according
03:02
to the president’s press conference so
03:04
he was on active communications with the
03:07
military in this particular attack it’s
03:09
the again the president reported this
03:11
was Delta ants and Army Rangers which
03:15
not a particular surprise out of that
03:18
because if everyone recalls the sama bin
03:21
Laden attack was or you know where they
03:23
took him out was a seal operation so the
03:26
military leadership they love to be the
03:30
ones to go do this because it brings
03:31
them accolades and credits so they fight
03:33
over the opportunity to have these be in
03:36
charge or to be able to run these
03:38
attacks so they had according to the
03:40
press reporting 50 to 70 people out
03:42
there and eight attack helicopters and
03:44
came in quietly approached the building
03:46
where al Baghdadi was hiding with some
03:50
people breached the wall blue charged
03:54
through the wall entered immediately and
03:56
took over the place al there were 11
03:59
children they don’t know whose children
04:00
they were that they were taking escorted
04:03
out not killed or harmed and there were
04:05
three people killed al Baghdadi was the
04:07
last one in the building two others
04:09
surrendered they have been captured or
04:11
being brought in for interrogation well
04:14
that ought to be quite interesting they
04:16
will almost certainly have a great deal
04:17
of information so that should be a great
04:20
payoff right there again this is an area
04:22
where the CIA excels and does well so I
04:24
think we should see some good
04:27
dividends paid by capturing those two
04:30
al-baghdadi fled down into a tunnel that
04:33
was a dead-end tunnel got followed right
04:35
down in there they were right on his
04:36
heels but he had an explosive vest on
04:38
and ended up detonating killing his two
04:42
wives with him that also had explosive
04:44
vests on so they did not detonate so
04:47
then they a lot of the delay that took
04:49
place although within about 15 minutes
04:51
according to the president again of the
04:54
explosion of where al-baghdadi killed
04:55
himself they were able to get the head
04:58
and hands and blood samples of course
05:01
because not much left of the torso and
05:04
using DNA and fingerprints almost
05:06
certainly didn’t mention it but that
05:07
would have been done the hands normal
05:08
stories and the head almost always
05:11
survived at the blast of that sort so
05:13
they would have been able to check all
05:14
of those had confirmation very quickly
05:16
and knew that it was indeed him the
05:19
reporting is that al-baghdadi was crying
05:22
and whimpering and very afraid and you
05:23
know died a coward was what to quote the
05:25
president which I have no doubt and by
05:27
the way just as a side comment these
05:30
guys that do this sort of stuff that are
05:31
out playing the tough guy slitting
05:33
throats and doing all these things have
05:34
captured prisoners their innocence they
05:38
tend to be bullies bullies are almost
05:40
always actually cowards
05:41
so it’s no surprise to me there are a
05:43
lot of guys back in the old days that
05:45
were the just tough hard as nails
05:47
killers for mafia and for the narco
05:52
traffickers know some those guys as they
05:54
would get captured and so on I mean
05:56
they’d cry like babies so it’s something
05:57
it’s not reported by anybody very often
06:00
but those guys that do those sorts of
06:02
activities are almost always cowards so
06:05
it’s no surprise to me whatsoever it
06:07
fits the profile of what we’d expect out
06:09
of that sort of behavior of these guys
06:11
that liked to slit the throats of tied
06:13
up people that they personally are
06:15
cowards
06:16
so I believe that just absolutely to be
06:18
true so he was killed now what does all
06:22
of this mean your your last your
06:23
question there that you ended up with is
06:25
how important is this in the scheme of
06:27
things it’s important but kind of on a
06:31
symbolic level now you you’re taking out
06:34
a piece of the command structure but the
06:37
way this works now leadership
06:39
a footprint and everybody recognizes
06:42
that that’s that’s the the risk that
06:44
these guys are faced with in leadership
06:46
and they they essentially have to try
06:49
and withdraw more and more and more and
06:50
more in order to stay alive because it’s
06:54
just one of those things that
06:55
communications and transportation and
06:57
all of these things your security around
06:59
you all of those things are this
07:02
footprint that’s easily recognizable and
07:04
you have a lot of ways to look for that
07:06
by Stander’s see at convoy three cars go
07:08
drive drive by heavily armed and all of
07:10
that for transportation and the
07:12
different places that you can stay you
07:13
have to have good security around it so
07:15
not just everybody’s walking in seeing
07:17
who’s there so just by its nature has
07:19
that footprint even if you use couriers
07:22
that still couriers come and go they get
07:24
recognized that movement is seen so it’s
07:27
it’s a very high-risk career move to go
07:30
into leadership of these terrorist
07:32
groups once you’re being tracked and the
07:33
resources that we have through allies
07:35
and and technical means and humans means
07:38
all of those things really become a
07:40
deadly combination so these guys almost
07:42
always end up dead once they get to that
07:44
point it’s just a question of time until
07:46
you catch them moving doing what
07:48
leadership must do that’s what got
07:50
al-baghdadi that’s how he’s done now
07:52
they’ve reported it’s human I’ve no
07:54
doubt whatsoever somebody on the ground
07:55
saw all this movement recognized that
07:57
leadership footprint reported it back
07:59
they confirmed that it was the fit the
08:01
profile of how al-baghdadi does his
08:04
stuff because they all have their style
08:06
they’re not changing everything all the
08:07
time even though they move randomly they
08:10
still move with a certain level of
08:12
security and and all of those things
08:14
that get recognized so figured it out
08:17
ID’d him as being in the place and in
08:19
the military this was probably a fairly
08:21
short timeframe of from beginning to
08:25
finish as the president said he went on
08:27
the horn last night around 5:00 p.m. our
08:29
Eastern Standard Time and it took place
08:32
middle of the night for us here in the
08:33
United States which was daytime there
08:35
and so that was that was how he was
08:40
captured now if you look back I mean
08:42
that’s all the way back to Pablo Escobar
08:44
oh that’s how he got nailed picking up
08:46
phone and communications and was moving
08:49
all the time had a lot of supporters of
08:51
the local pop pop
08:52
halation where he was hiding in medellin
08:55
and really the only guy that’s ever done
08:57
this very successfully was one of the
08:59
war criminals out of the former war and
09:03
yugoslavia lotta edge who was a lawyer
09:07
and poet and these sorts of things and
09:09
and he was able to just get completely
09:11
out of it grow a big beard change his
09:13
appearance and have nothing whatsoever
09:15
to do with anybody and he was the most
09:18
successful person that was able to hide
09:19
out for 14 years before he was finally
09:21
captured and taken to the court in the
09:22
hague all of the rest of these guys are
09:24
slowly getting tracked down and and
09:26
taken out killed mostly most of these
09:29
guys have nobody’s interested in taking
09:31
prisoner with the tube but that they did
09:33
capture like I said they’ll get almost
09:35
all if not more taking out of those guys
09:38
than they would out of having captured
09:40
al-baghdadi and then once you have all
09:42
Baghdadi you’ve got a real problem what
09:44
are you gonna do with him I mean with
09:45
all the murders and everything’s he’s
09:46
done basically you have to you know find
09:49
him guilty of all of that and execute
09:51
him and that nobody likes the optics of
09:53
all of that so they I I mean I don’t
09:56
know this so perhaps I’m speaking out of
09:58
term but almost certainly there would
09:59
have been a kill order going into this
10:01
not a capture order going into it
10:03
although happy to take the other guys
10:05
that were associated with him so that
10:06
was the team that was there two fighters
10:08
they came out hands up or captured the
10:10
children they were taken out and then
10:12
al-baghdadi blew himself up with the
10:14
with the two wives down in the
10:16
whimpering down in the cave so that
10:20
long-term impact of that is minimal
10:22
because already he had a number two that
10:25
that is they’re ready to take over so
10:28
I’m sure that that person has already
10:30
begun the process of taking over the
10:33
day-to-day running it’s a question of
10:35
then where you can have impact with
10:38
these is if it gets through our heart
10:40
starts to get harder to fill those
10:43
leadership positions where people start
10:45
looking at it going now this isn’t gonna
10:47
work I’m gonna get killed right away and
10:48
to no end yeah okay I become a martyr
10:50
but you know we’re not going to get
10:52
anything done anyway so I’m not sure
10:54
it’s the right move
10:55
now that’s not where we’re at right now
10:57
there has been leadership killed one way
11:00
or another along the lines some of them
11:02
may resurface because they weren’t
11:04
confirmed
11:05
they may have gone into hiding or
11:07
getting out if that’s the case all of
11:09
those things are to the good because
11:11
then just disappearing into the woodwork
11:13
and getting out of the business if you
11:14
will great we’ll catch those guys
11:16
probably eventually anyway maybe if they
11:17
show their hand in any way but those
11:20
those people then that start to hesitate
11:22
to go into those leadership positions
11:23
and they want to kind of stay in the
11:25
lower down ranks that’s where you really
11:28
start to show the victory because then
11:29
they begin to disintegrate and splinter
11:31
and join with other groups or do
11:32
whatever they’re gonna do or just go
11:34
home you do see some of that so we’re
11:36
not there the guy who was number two is
11:40
now stepping into the number one slot
11:41
that’s going to continue business as
11:43
usual wherever they’re at whatever
11:45
they’re doing their plans for operations
11:47
overseas murders and terrorist attacks
11:49
those will continue essentially unabated
11:52
but once we nailed that guy the the next
11:55
line after that is not so clearly
11:58
defined in Isis so once he’s taken out
12:00
then I think what we really start to see
12:03
the impact of having taken Baghdadi out
12:05
and they’ve lost all their territory but
12:07
they haven’t lost their organization so
12:09
now what we’re kind of doing by taking
12:11
out leadership is starting to attack
12:13
command structure and leadership and and
12:16
I think we will see the impact and
12:18
another person or two taken out and
12:20
we’ll see how they’re able to handle
12:23
that sort of stress on the organization
12:25
prediction would be basically that it
12:27
begins to splinter and it will no longer
12:30
be as cohesive and you’ll see pieces off
12:33
around the edge kind of go off and
12:35
either get out or go off to some other
12:36
group it’s hard for those guys that have
12:38
been involved in terrorism to do
12:40
something else I mean they and that’s
12:42
that’s what they are as killers than at
12:45
that point so yeah it’s pretty much a
12:47
commitment once yes you start Ganic
12:49
terrorism yeah it’s pretty much a
12:51
commitment I hate to ask this but I have
12:55
to ask this I is there some way to make
12:58
sure that the team that conducted this
13:00
excellent and successful mission do not
13:03
all get together and take the same
13:05
helicopter in Afghanistan
13:08
yeah now there at once this is all done
13:10
they’ll going with their own ways their
13:12
their assignment and that the Delta guys
13:15
and the and the Ranger guys which by the
13:17
way I’ve worked with a lot of those guys
13:18
in the past mainly intelligence tends to
13:21
work with the Special Forces units more
13:24
than regular troops although both take
13:26
place so a lot of my background is
13:28
working with those guys those are good
13:30
guys but the way it’s gonna work for
13:31
them is they’re gonna come come back
13:33
from this assignment and they’ll be
13:35
there and and start splintering off to
13:37
go to all sorts of other assignments
13:39
some of them might retire because this
13:41
is kind of a high point for them so it’s
13:43
it’s a it’s a good time depending on
13:45
where they are in their career to move
13:47
on to say some other other project
13:49
because they would have some notoriety
13:50
and could get a good on word job and so
13:54
yeah that’s that’s typically what’ll
13:55
happen yeah they’re not going to stay
13:57
together as a unit for any length of
13:59
time they’ll very quickly move on and I
14:01
mean that’s the nature of the beast –
14:02
it’s not like they’re being targeted to
14:05
have that done it’s just going to be the
14:07
natural process so and and lastly you
14:12
know it’s difficult I don’t understand
14:15
that in terms of the way Islam is
14:17
structured that there has to it’s
14:19
essentially I mean I think the Mafia
14:21
actually copied their hierarchical
14:23
structure very directly from exactly how
14:27
Islam is laid out that that when you’re
14:29
conducting a raid or an operation which
14:31
where you take slaves and booty that you
14:33
have to kick up 10% to the captain who
14:36
kicks up to the insulin and it works
14:38
that way with this limb and so there has
14:40
to be a caliphate so that the Caliph the
14:43
leader ends up he’s that he is a de
14:46
facto the the permission needed the sort
14:50
of legal he’s the legal permission if
14:53
you want he’s the legitimization is a
14:55
word for these kinds of what would
14:58
essentially are crimes and but but
15:00
become political right so so what I’m
15:05
wondering is how much of an impact will
15:08
this have on what’s the Islamic state is
15:10
just essentially a Muslim Brotherhood
15:12
entity just like al-qaeda and you know
15:14
50 other groups we could we could name
15:16
it’s sort of irrelevant in a way but the
15:18
question is why
15:20
why would not someone just step up and
15:23
take I mean there must be a lot of
15:24
Muslims who think who whose ambition
15:26
would be yeah I want to be the new
15:29
caliph because yes a lot it offers a lot
15:32
it’s got benefits i short of being
15:34
killed in a few years which is gonna
15:36
happen
15:37
yeah it does and you touched on some
15:41
interesting questions there I mean
15:43
basically terrorism is based within the
15:46
Arabic culture of the home if you will
15:48
if you will right now of Islam and
15:51
they’re a very there it’s a tribal
15:53
culture it’s just that’s the basis of
15:55
what they come from and so naturally you
15:58
see a strong man a tendency for a strong
16:00
man leadership it’s also reflected in
16:02
Islam as you say so it’s reinforced
16:05
their self reinforcing back and forth so
16:07
they are very much oriented to want and
16:10
operate better with a very vertical
16:11
system with a leadership and chain of
16:13
command going down and and that’s just
16:15
how the whole thing is set up that of
16:17
course just gets them killed so they’re
16:19
pushing back trying to do more of a
16:20
horizontal thing but it doesn’t lend
16:22
itself to it so it’s always going to be
16:24
one of the problems now I there are
16:26
people that are always going to step up
16:28
and it’s certainly something we’ve seen
16:30
in narco trafficking for example I mean
16:32
you make big money in that but it’s a
16:34
dangerous business to be in they kill
16:36
each other and the authorities will
16:37
track them down and kill them on
16:39
occasion as well so it’s it’s one of
16:41
those things but we’ve never seen no
16:43
matter how much leadership we take out
16:45
that that disappears completely so don’t
16:48
mean to imply that with what I’ve said
16:50
it’s just not gonna go away you know
16:52
like disappear but what you have seen is
16:55
the organization’s become much more
16:57
horizontal and that means it’s
17:00
splintered so therefore less effective
17:02
so I mean that is that in under under
17:05
the circumstances what we can hope for
17:06
is success is something along those
17:08
lines is that Isis ISIL – whatever you
17:12
want to call it they they will have
17:14
their leadership get taken out
17:16
repeatedly and so it’s it’s much harder
17:19
and more difficult and fewer people that
17:21
can command the whole structure will be
17:23
able to rise to the top to do so
17:25
so you’ll have that that breakdown then
17:28
of the different groups that will
17:29
splinter off and each have their own
17:31
individual leaders
17:32
once you get down into that say third
17:34
layer they’re not just naturally all
17:37
going to respect the other guy and just
17:39
and and just automatically accept him as
17:42
leader so you see that competition start
17:44
to take place between them for
17:47
leadership and therefore you have their
17:49
own groups follow their own little
17:50
leaders and that splintering effect
17:52
which of course lowers their efficiency
17:54
and capability and their worldwide
17:56
capability and how much money that
17:59
they’ll have as a whole all of those
18:01
things start to get impacted negatively
18:02
so it’s a it’s a that is a measure of a
18:07
type of win for us is to diminish their
18:09
capability and of course that’s what we
18:10
want I mean you can’t it’s it’s not like
18:14
an army where you just take out all
18:16
their capability to to conduct war you
18:19
can just kill them all if it’s in an
18:20
army and kill and destroy every piece of
18:22
equipment they have and then okay it’s
18:24
over they’ll quit long before that but
18:26
with this because as they splinter out
18:28
and they’re just their little groups
18:29
it’s it’s harder to back a lesson
18:31
they’re less long yeah yeah probably
18:33
less likely that tons of recruits will
18:35
join because there isn’t one central
18:37
organization that looks like it has a
18:38
high probability of success oh
18:40
absolutely and within that culture
18:43
that’s a key element of it and everyone
18:45
should remember that they I mean they
18:46
truce I mean volunteers will flock to a
18:50
successful group volunteers will not
18:52
flock to an unsuccessful group where
18:54
everyone gets killed that nature the
18:56
Beast I mean why why would you go join
18:58
that group so yeah I mean it’s
19:00
encouraged that’s helpful
19:01
I would encourage getting along okay
19:12
you

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