In this space I have generally refrained from singing my own praises, most especially because there are so few to sing. But on this occasion I am going to publish a commendation that was given to me by the Department of Justice, on its behalf and that of the FBI, for the work that my unit “Alec Station” — staffed mostly by female CIA officers, but also with excellent female officers from NSA and FBI — did against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida between November, 1995, and May, 1999. I am doing so for two reasons.
First, in his recent book, The Great War of Our Time, the former Acting Director of CIA, Michael Morell, and his co-author — the latter shill also co-wrote George Tenet’s deceitful book — published a number of deliberate lies about me and the people who I was honored to serve with in the 1995-1999 era of the battle against al-Qaeda. Morell says, for example, that he was “shocked” that I was the chief of Alec Station because I was not a trained operations officer; he does not tell you that I took the job after no senior operations officer would accept it in late-1995 because none believed it would be career enhancing. Nor does he mention that I hold the William J. Donovan Award — one of the CIA’s Directorate of Operation’s top awards at the time I received it — for my pre-al-Qaeda work on Afghan covert operations. He says also that I always was coming to his office and complaining to him about not having enough officers to do the job; while the unit was greatly understaffed, I had not a single one-on-one meeting with Morell between 1995 and my resignation in 2004; indeed, he was nowhere in my chain of direct command. Morell also contends that my officers were untalented and that I was “a zealot” who was “constantly getting into fights with the FBI, the NSA, and his own bosses.” The DOJ document I am publishing here for the first time will make Morell’s lies clear on this score, but part of the reason that Morell describes my officers as untalented is because most were women and all were aggressive and successful in hunting bin Laden, traits that never sat well with the seniormost CIA officers while I was there. In his book, Morell describes those highly talented women in terms one would use to speak of Hillary-Clinton-like harpies. I also would note that about two years ago Morell came over to my table at a local Starbucks and, in essence, told me that he was writing a book that would tell the truth about Alec Station and its officers. Morell apparently lies about everything.
The second reason is an August, 2015, article by an Israel-First cheerleader named Gabriel Schoenfeld on the blog Lawfare. Schoenfeld has been defaming me for years as an incompetent, an-anti-Semite, and a liar. (NB: Readers of this space will recognize Schoenfeld’s name and recall a series called something like “Scheuer Watch” he wrote for Commentary, Israel-First’s flagship publication.) In his Lawfare posting, Schoenfeld — who has never met me and, like Morell, never asked me to comment on the accuracy of Morrel’s claims — wrote that
“the CIA had placed someone with an unhinged personality — a man with [per Morell] a ’penchant for angering anyone who didn’t see things exactly as he did’ — into a critical job. Morell’s verdict is harsh. The inadequate work of Alec Station [per Morell] ’significantly lowered the chances that we would detect an attack in preparation and disrupt it’ and indeed the shortcomings of the unit ’helped lead to the bombings of embassies in East Africa’ in 1998.”
Apparently neither Schoenfeld or Morell know that President Clinton cancelled a JSOC-approved CIA operation to kidnap bin Laden two months before the East Africa attacks — and then ordered it restarted on the day of the attacks — or that Morell’s patron, former DCI George Tenet, refused to stop the FBI from recalling a female FBI officer from Alec Station two months before the East Africa attacks. This woman was the officer who had uncovered much of al-Qaeda’s East Africa network and knew more about it than anyone else in the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Schoenfeld, like Morell, also does not like the fact that female CIA officers successfully hunted down bin Laden. He writes with glee and approval of Morell’s lying slander that the
“inadequate work of Alec Station [mostly staffed by female CIA officers] ’significantly lowered the chances that we would detect an attack in preparation and disrupt it’ … and indeed the shortcomings of the unit ’helped lead to the bombings of embassies in East Africa’ in 1998. Matters only began to improve after the attacks, when Scheuer was removed from his post and Tenet put the agency on a war footing to meet the al Qaeda challenge.”
So completely misogynous are Schoenfeld and Morell, in fact, that neither mentions that until bin Laden was killed in May 2011, the only chances the U.S. government had to kill bin Laden — and there were ten of them — were given to President Clinton by Alec’s Station’s largely female staff and their courageous male and female colleagues risking their lives overseas.
The memo that follows, therefore, is meant to disprove the lying, slanderous, and anti-female words of Morell and Schoenfeld, the one a lying apparatchik, the other a man who claims to be a “journalist” but is merely an utterly disloyal Israel-First swine.
It is also meant to again emphasize that the female officers I served with and our colleagues based abroad succeeded completely in the mission they were assigned; that is, to dismantle al-Qaeda cells, and to provide a chance for CIA to capture bin Laden and/or to assist the U.S. military to take him out. That President Clinton turned down every opportunity to do either of the latter is also a fact Morell does not mention, perhaps because he is the one who made sure the Benghazi talking points disguised Mrs. Clinton’s clear culpability for the murder of four Americans in Libya, or perhaps it is because he is now rumored to be working for a firm that is very close to Mrs. Clinton.
As for myself, I can only say that, while I am under-brained and a reliably polite but quite frank son-of-a-bitch when dealing with senior U.S. officials who refuse to protect Americans, I did have enough commonsense to stay out of the way of the aggressive, tireless, and skilled female CIA officers and their overseas colleagues, who, had Bill Clinton not been a narcissistic moral coward, would have prevented 9/11 and probably the disasters that have followed in its wake.
U.S.. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Southern District of New York
The Silvio J. Mollo Building
One Saint Andrew’s Plaza
New York, New York 10007
May 24, 1999
Michael F. Scheuer
Central Intelligence Agency
I write to express my profound gratitude for your outstanding work and leadership over the last four years in the investigations of Usama Bin Laden and his terrorist network, al Qaeda.
As you know, this Office began a criminal investigation into Usama Bin Laden and the al Qaeda network three years ago, working in conjunction with the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). Since the first day, you and your colleagues welcomed members of our office to participate in discussions with you and your colleagues as to how the separate but related law enforcement and intelligence investigations could coordinate to make sure that neither did anything to compromise the other and, where legal and appropriate, to enhance each other. I know from first hand knowledge that early on in the case — when the Bin Laden network was not in the public eye — the prosecutors in my office were awed both by your incredibly diligent work ethic and your determination to make your mission a successful one, as well as the efforts you made early on in the case to coordinate your work with the law enforcement effort in a manner that in my experience was unprecedented in this country’s history. It was obvious from the work of your staff who labored hard with tremendous resolve that your diligence and determination were contagious. That effort — combined with the accommodations you made at critical times to allow the evidentiary needs of law enforcement to be protected — made it possible for Usama Bin Laden to be indicted by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York in June 1998. Without your diligence, leadership and cooperation, your law enforcement partners would simply not have been able to obtain such an Indictment and for that my Office and the public will always be in your debt.
The diligence and professionalism of you and your staff, and your willingness to work hand in hand with Special Agent Daniel Coleman and the prosecutors in my office where and as appropriate, also made it possible to charge many of the suspects indicted so soon after the horrific East Africa Embassy bombings. Law enforcement had a running start on that investigation because you had been not only willing, but eager, to share information with us from the beginning. I also know that no one has logged more hours than you did to work against the Bin Laden network. I know that your prodigious labors had to take much time away you could otherwise have spent with your family. Having recently met with many of the victims’ families, rest assured that your efforts to prevent terrorist acts, and your willingness to help us hold those who carried out past attacks responsible, have had a very real impact on your fellow Americans as well as the citizens of Kenya and Tanzania and other countries. I would be honored if you would allow me to present a plaque to you at a time which would allow both you and your family to be present as they have shared in your sacrifice. We would very much like to express our appreciation to them as well.
In short, you have been a leader and a valued colleague in the fight against international terrorism. I cannot overstate the significance of your staff’s work and their dedication to the preservation of our nation’s security. As a symbolic but heartfelt memento of the effort put forth by you and your staff, I present you with one of the original warrants obtained for the arrest of Usama Bin Laden on June 10, 1998. To my Office, it represents a watershed in how the law enforcement and intelligence communities ought to cooperate and we thank you for making it possible.
MARY JO WHITE
United States Attorney
cc: The Honorable George Tenet Director, Central Intelligence Agency
- Morell, The Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism — From al Qa’ida to ISIS
- Schoenfeld, https://www.lawfareblog.com/soldier-great-war