Ex-CIA Bin Laden chief Michael Scheuer speaks out



by Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today editor


My latest Press TV article ‘Americans speaking out about “Israelification” of the USA‘ could have cited Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA’s Bin Laden unit in the 1990s. Scheuer has been increasingly vocal about the damage done to US interests by Israeli and Saudi clout in Washington.

Below is a transcript of roughly the first third of my two-hour interview with Michael Scheuer.

(You’ve been warning America for more than a decade, but it still isn’t listening.)

No, they won’t listen, sir. The first book I wrote was finished in 1999, and the Agency locked it up for two years because they were afraid it would offend Arabs. It was only after 9/11 that their concern lessened a little bit.

It’s like yelling into a closet. The American people, God bless ’em, are just so…badly educated and unaware of how duplicitous their leaders are.

We’re much worse off today than we were when we started to fight al-Qaeda and its allies in 1995, and certainly infinitely worse off than we were in 2001. And yet our president, Mr. McCain…they all say that the killing of Bin Laden has been the turning point in this war.

Americans just don’t seem to get the difference between what they are told and what the reality is. If this wasn’t a problem, or not the problem it used to be, everyone wouldn’t be so upset about the Russians not letting us help out with security in Sochi for the Olympics.

Well, I don’t blame them. After Bandar Bush, as he’s sometimes called, went to visit Putin, and threatened him with terrorism directed at the Olympics if he didn’t support Bandar and the so-called Syrian rebels, who are supposedly on our side…you know, I wouldn’t really want American security help either.

Well, in many ways I have to agree that to a great extent, our success or our defense depends on being surrounded by two oceans. And it’s rather hard to get in here on airplanes at the moment. But what’s slowly happening is that I think we will see young American Muslims, who we have assumed the so-called melting pot would take care of, will be attracted to the same sort of propaganda, the same sort of rhetoric, that has been so appealing to Muslims in Europe and Africa and of course across the Middle East. And we’ll be fighting this war at home increasingly over the next decade, fifteen years.

Well, I’m Muslim, by the way. And my son…I guess you could call him a certain kind of “radical American Muslim.” He’s a “radical libertarian Ron Paul supporter” kind of guy. (laughter)

As am I! Though I’m a Roman Catholic. But the point I was trying to make is that it’s a sort of an arrogance to assume (a) that everyone is the same and will be affected by the same assimilative pressures or interests, and (b) that religion has nothing to do with what’s going on. There would be no problem if this was not a religiously motivated jihad or war or whatever you want to call it. The fact that our leaders won’t even take than on board as a possibility is really going to be fatal to America in so many ways

Let’s back up for the listeners who haven’t done their homework on this – even some of my listeners may miss some of these things – and talk about the gist of your analysis of what’s really at stake here. You’re saying that this whole propaganda wave we’ve been washed in since 9/11, about how “they’re coming after us because THEY HATE OUR FREEDOM, and they don’t like the way our women dress” and this sort of thing, is all nonsense. And there are some very straightforward and simple reasons why there is a worldwide insurgency in the Islamic world.

Yeah, Kevin, I have to say that if the Muslim world was upset with us for women with short skirts, or Budweiser beer, or early primaries in Iowa, the threat wouldn’t even rise to a lethal nuisance, probably. They certainly wouldn’t have those things in their countries – many wouldn’t, anyway. What they’re mad about is what we’re doing, what our government is doing in the Muslim world – what I call intervention. Becoming involved in countries where we really have no interest, where we really don’t have anything to do with teaching people anything. Mrs. Clinton and Barack Obama have taken this “war of civilization” to a higher level. And we’ve moved away from simply using military power. Now we’re involved in trying to teach these people how to be good, secular Westerners.

And at the same time we’re supporting al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria. What’s that about?

It’s about…al-Qaeda has known for a long time, sir, that all they have to do, all al-Qaeda and their allies have to do, is find someone who shaves, wears a suit, speaks a little English, and can be pushed out in front of them, and keep saying the word “democracy.”

The American leadership will fall in line, and do al-Qaeda’s work for them. We’ve provided the air support for their takeover, or partial takeover, of Libya. If Putin hadn’t saved our bacon, we would have done the same thing in Syria.We would have helped get rid of Assad, allowed the murder of a million Alawites, and put the jihadis in power.

So it’s…this is certainly a lost generation of leaders. I’ve often thought that if America survived my generation (I was born in 1952) I would be very grateful.

You and I have pretty similar reactions to these seemingly utterly senseless post-9/11 policies, and even pre-9/11 for that matter. But it seems like you’re totally devoted to the incompetence theory: That the reason our politicians have done exactly the wrong thing at every step along the way has been pure stupidity. You did have a line though, I think it’s in Marching Toward Hell: “Only madmen and perhaps a few neoconservatives and Israel-firsters would have sought these consequences.” Only madmen and neocons! Those may not be mutually exclusive categories. (laughter) But when I look back and see that you were prevented ten times from taking out Bin Laden before 9/11…and then 9/11 happens and BOOM, the policies are “Let’s try to drive the Islamic world even crazier, let’s murder even more millions of Muslims, let’s do everything we can to ENCOURAGE this worldwide insurgency…” And who does it benefit?

It doesn’t benefit anyone. Except our politicians in both parties think it will keep them in power. And they’re so politically-correct. That has gotten to be such a trite and overused phrase, but, my God!

I don’t think these people are stupid. I would prefer it if they were. What I contend is that they’re liars.

They all have better educations than I had. I didn’t get to go to Harvard or Princeton or any of the Ivy League schools, or to Stanford. All of these people were educated there. The abundance of information that’s available about the motivation of our Islamist rivals, or our Islamist enemies if you prefer, is extraordinary. We haven’t had enemies since Ho Chi Minh and General Giap, and before that Adolph Hitler, who were so willing and eager and desperate almost to tell us what they were mad at, why they were mad about it, and what they were going to do. Unfortunately for America, we could tolerate fools and stupid people, but the choice is only between being a liar, and being a worse liar, sir. These people know exactly what the problem is. The Muslim world doesn’t hate Americans as people. I’ve traveled extensively, during the course of my career, in the Muslim world, in both the Middle East and South Asia. And invariably, the courtesy that was extended to us, to me, was extraordinary. And the appreciation for Americans and their generosity in times of natural disasters and other kinds of problems is very great. But inevitably, the question comes over dinner, or over tea: “Why are you supplying the Israelis with F-16s to kill Palestinian young people? Why are you supporting the police states that run, take your pick – Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and the rest of the Gulf countries?”

Muslims are not stupid people. That’s one of the assumptions we make at the official level in Washington, in America, is that they can’t differentiate between Americans and their government. And the focus of Muslim hatred is not on Americans. It is definitely on the United States government. And we are the essential ally of the most violent, most militaristic part of the Muslim community around the world: the jihadis.

That’s a good point. One metaphor I’ve sometimes tried to use, which would frame it very differently from the way you frame it – you frame it by focusing on the jihadi element – but the thing is, Mike, that in the Muslim world, the vast majority of people feel very, very strongly about some of these issues, with what I would call the genocidal Zionist occupation of Palestine being number one. And we all pretty much feel that way. Or the vast majority do. And I think we’re objectively right on this. Before I even came to Islam, I knew enough about Israel-Palestine to know that the Palestinians are right: This is a completely absurd crime that has been committed against them.

So my metaphor would be that this is like the civil rights movement in the 60s, where obviously this group of people is being oppressed, they’re obviously totally right about the issues they’re angry about. And then you have this very tiny, tiny segment of this vast number of people who want to change things and get their fair share, their rights…a tiny number are willing to commit violence. So by focusing obsessively on that tiny number who are willing to commit violence, and reacting badly – or over-reacting – that might make the problem worse. If (in the 1960s) someone had said, “well, we’re going to have to kill huge numbers of black people because of this” – and you’ve said things a little bit like this in some of your books – if they had, wouldn’t there have been even more black people who got mad enough to go out and cause trouble?

Well, I certainly think that’s true. But we have to realize that this is a war. This is a war of global dimensions. At least from my perspective, the idea that you don’t kill people because they’ll get madder at you is sort of nonsense. It’s absolutely true, but it’s absolutely irrelevant. And it’s irrelevant because the leadership of this country – the academic leadership, the media leadership, the political leadership of this country, and to a great extent much of the religious leadership of this country – has created a situation in which we deny the existence of the problem. And for that reason, the only tools we’re bringing to bear to defend ourselves are the intelligence services and the military. And America has never won a struggle, a war, with just those two entities. What are they good for? They’re good for killing. And if that’s all you’re going to do, you’re going to have to kill an enormous number of people. Many more today than in 2001. And that’s the box America is in. Until we can be adults and say, listen, they don’t care if we vote early in Iowa, they don’t care if my daughter goes to university.

What they care about is our intervention in their world: Our support of the Israelis, our fifty years of support for tyrannies in the Middle East.

Whatever it is, that’s what motivates them. And until we address the motivation, in our own minds at least, and at least accept that that’s what their motivation is, we have no choice but to kill people. No matter what the impact is on the rest of the world. Because ultimately you have to defend yourself.

Right, but…let’s step back and ask, what are the real US interests in the Middle East? Do we need to support Israel? Do we need to prop up these dictators?

Well, certainly, I have argued consistently over the course of four books that neither Palestine nor Israel is of the slightest bit of concern to the United States. And one of the reasons that struggle goes on is because of our constant intervention in favor of the Israelis. If we hadn’t been backing the Israelis ever step along the way, there would have been some kind of settlement by now, or some kind of solution to the problem. But ultimately, from an American perspective, if every Palestinian died, or every Israeli died, or both of them, there would be a lot of empathy, a lot of sympathy, a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, but at the end of the day, to American national interests, it wouldn’t matter a bit. It wouldn’t make any impact on us at all.

To me, the support for the Israelis is a twofold disaster. It involves us in a war with a civilization that really doesn’t have a desire to fight us, except for the fact of our intervention on behalf of the Israelis and others. Secondly, it corrupts our domestic political system to a point where several years ago, five hundred members of our Congress gave 29 standing ovations to Netanyahu after our President laid out a position that was in direct contradiction to Netanyahu.

Yeah, I couldn’t believe that.

I’m afraid I’ve been inside of this beast for so long that I was hardly surprised. Although the numbers that were attending that meeting were somewhat stark. But these people…the problem for America is not Israel. The problem for America is the American Jewish community, or that portion of it that are dead enders, that are maximalists, that sit here in America with their children, their homes, their jobs, their happy fat bank accounts, and bankroll the extremists who run the Israeli government. That’s the danger to Israel. That’s the danger to the United States political system.

And you’re getting more and more forthright about saying that. And the usual suspects, the neocons and the hard-line Zionists, have really gotten upset with you lately.

Well, not lately. Almost since the day I resigned and began to speak out.

But they get more hysterical all the time.

They do. They’re a little bit…I don’t know if they’re unstable, or just frenetic. But they are extraordinarily vicious people, in terms of what they write to me, in terms of what they write to my employers, in terms of what they put in public print.

But at the end of the day, they’re defending an indefensible position. They’re defending, in many respects, a position that’s absolutely treasonous to the United States, and incompatible with being an American citizen.

That’s a great point. I don’t quite understand how they get away with it. Including the dual citizen issue. We just heard Stanley Fischer, who’s going to be number two at the Fed apparently, is a proud dual citizen who has announced it in public. And this is, I guess, a new precedent. We’ve been told that a lot of the other high-level people, people like Perle and Wolfowitz and so on, may have been dual citizens as well, but they’re not telling us. Is there some kind of policy about allowing people with a declared loyalty to a foreign country to be in high-level foreign policy positions?

Of course there is! There are rules, there are laws against that. You can take your choice. If you want to be an Israeli passport holder, that’s fine, but you’re no longer an American citizen. But just like so many other laws, whether it’s under Bush or Obama or Clinton or the first George Bush – you can go back four presidents – they only enforce the laws they want to. I think it’s unconscionable. You cannot get a passport from another country, you cannot get a passport from America, without swearing allegiance to the United States or to the other country. Any American citizen who holds a foreign passport, whether it’s an Israeli passport, an Irish passport, a Lebanese passport, an Armenian passport…whatever it is, should immediately be cashiered out of any kind of position of trust with the US government. And forced to make a choice. They are either going to be an American citizen or they’re going to be an Israeli, Lebanese, whatever-you’d-like citizen. They can’t be both. I’m not a strong religious person, but I think it’s very clear you give to Caesar what’s Caesar’s. You can’t serve two masters.

I think it’s become more and more clear, especially since Walt and Mearsheimer put out their book, that this really is the issue: US support for Israel is not, as people have been saying for many years, because Israel has been helping us as our cop in the Middle East; they come up with all kinds of stories about why this is supposed to be helping the US. But obviously all it’s doing is making us huge numbers of enemies.

It’s interesting to watch, I think, the US Jewish community from a distance of just me observing them. They may be the first part of the melting pot that’s un-assimilating. It’s very clear: They send their children to join the Israeli military instead of the US military.

They are opting out, really, of any part of American society that doesn’t agree with them that Israel is somehow as important, or more important than the interests of the United States.

I had Gwyneth Todd on my show awhile back. And she, I’m told, served on the National Security Council at the time that Richard Clarke was also on the Council. And she had some rather uncomplimentary things to say about Richard Clarke. She said – and I had this confirmed by someone else – that he was caught spying for Israel by the FBI, and that made him ineligible for some position…I forget what the position was…and then he got booted upstairs to the National Security Council, AFTER he’d got caught spying for Israel. Have you heard anything about this?

I haven’t heard anything about that sir, no. But I have to say that Israel probably has the best espionage system of any foreign country in our country, because so many people turn a blind eye to it. If you question anything that an American Jew does, or that Israel does, you’re immediately an anti-Semite.
Look at what this baseball player from Milwaukee did, when he failed the drug test for steroids – Braun, Ryan Braun. He immediately accused the person who took the test of being an anti-Semite. What happened? He got off the hook the first time, until they proved it definitively. It is an all-purpose marginalizer of people who question the relationship between the Israelis and the United States. And it is the ultimate, next to the word terrorism, debate stopper.

Right. I learned that the hard way myself in the academy. It’s really the ultimate taboo. And it’s strange how it works. Because the Zionist Jewish people are not exactly a poor powerless oppressed group. And yet that’s kind of the way it’s played – that it’s terrible to say bad things about the poor powerless oppressed minority types. And here’s a group that’s got double the average income of non-Jewish Americans, that’s totally dominating foreign policy, and yet they’re benefiting from the same kind of protection we think we’re affording to poor oppressed powerless minorities.

They’re really the only ones who can publicly flaunt their disloyalty to America and be applauded for it. But I’ll tell you one experience I had. Israel is not the only one. When I worked for the CIA, if we were gathering information, or some kind of a collection effort that was benefiting the United States but really didn’t have any pertinence to another foreign country, if the Israelis found out about it, or if the Saudis found out about it, and you refused to share the information with them because it really had nothing to do with them, or their national security, they were the two countries on earth who could call the White House, bypass the intelligence community, and get the White House to order the release of that information to them. As bad as the Israelis are, at least they’re public about it; you can see their disloyalty. But the Saudis are very quiet. They’re very rich. They use their own money instead of our money to bribe us. And they’re very good at collecting former senior intelligence officers, diplomats, generals, businesspeople, and putting them on the payroll of Saudi Arabia after they’ve retired to lobby our government. It’s a dirty, ugly business. And I wish there were some way to end it. But I don’t know how to do it.



  1. I have to respond to something Dr Barrett wrote
    QUOTE “Like David Ray Griffin, McGovern is a Christian who has been brainwashed to believe his evil Christian ancestors horribly persecuted the poor innocent Jews. So Griffin backs off on the Israeli-9/11 angle, and McGovern backs off on 9/11 completely since he knows where it will lead.”

    Yes, and this is the reason the HolyCo$t is so heavily promoted……it is one of Zion’s greatest weapons against Christianity’s conscience.

    And it is not simply correcting a matter of history. The HolyCo$t weapon is being used today against the West. This hoax must be destroyed for the West to shake off Zionist control.

  2. Could he produce pictures of Tim Osman of the CIA? I would love to see bin Laden when he was Tim Osman, if that version of history is true. Follow up with that if you can. Thanks! I don’t think people believe he was Tim Osman working for the CIA before he became bin Laden (who actually died in 2001 of kidney failure. Thanks.

  3. Scheuer seems to be a little naive when he thinks that his book (given that he wrote it with good intentions) was supressed because they were afraid to offend Arabs. I have not read his book so I don’t know if Arabs equals Muslims, or if he wrote about other Arabs.

  4. I know you want to respect your guest Kevin, but how could you not question him on his role in pushing disinfo about Osama BIn Laden being the true culprit behind 9/11? He obviously isn’t and you obviously know that. This was a golden opportunity.

    Scheuer says a lot of good things. But it is his disinfo about Osama that is his true purpose I’m afraid.

    • I did question 9/11 later in the interview. He said (I’m paraphrasing from memory) “If that’s true (that 9/11 was a false-flag) then I missed it. But hey, I’ve missed things before.” You can listen at NoLiesRadio.org/archives/75838 I emailed him some 9/11 info after the interview, hoping that since I was fairly non-confrontational he might be more open to it.

    • Sounds good, sorry I doubted you ) I’ve always been wary of this guy, seems his main purpose was and is to substantiate many lies about Bin Laden and “al Qaeda”, despite some of the more rational things he tends to say as well.

    • I agree that he waxes a bit hysterical about AQ. Maybe (1) he got obsessed with his job, and (2) he may not be entirely wrong about the big picture AQ is not 100% phony, just infiltrated and manipulated, and what it represents – Muslims asserting their right to self-defense by developing a non-state military capacity capable of deterring further Western terrorism – is a real and sobering issue. Remember, Western governments have killed 50 to 60 million people in terrorist attacks since WWII (Chomsky and Vltchek). Non-state actors in the Muslim world and elsewhere will eventually develop a WMD capacity with no return address to put an end to the era of Western terrorist impunity. This is very serious stuff, and Scheuer is right to be worried, and to urge the US to stop committing the crimes that will eventually motivate people to nuke US cities and unleash bio-weapons.

    • I wonder what he thinks of the Bin Laden denials and the obviously phony “confession tapes”? I would like to think he’s not knowingly pushing disinfo but a guy coming from the “Bin Laden Unit” and then being accepted by the mainstream media(at least initially) doesn’t inspire confidence in me.

      As far as “al Qaeda” not being %100 phony, I’m sure that’s true at this point, many have latched onto the name and brand that is now “Al Qaeda”. I remember what Robin Cook said about that supposed group though and it’s origins though…

    • And yes, the blowback phenomenon exists but that’s not what 9/11 was, contrary to what Mr. Scheuer(or Chomsky for that matter) would have us believe.

    • Ray McGovern isn’t exactly a gatekeeper. He has endorsed David Ray Griffin’s work. I spent several hours with him and Bob Bowman before the 9/11 truth tea party in 2007 and he obviously knows 9/11 was a false flag. But he has taken a lot of heat from his gatekeeper/Jewish friends and apparently decided to stop offending them. Like David Ray Griffin, McGovern is a Christian who has been brainwashed to believe his evil Christian ancestors horribly persecuted the poor innocent Jews. So Griffin backs off on the Israeli-9/11 angle, and McGovern backs off on 9/11 completely since he knows where it will lead.

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