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Michael Scheuer

Michael Scheuer, who resigned Nov. 12 after running the CIA office that tracked Osama bin Laden, was last Friday's guest. He wrote the recent best-seller "Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror." Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On how he'd describe Osama bin Laden:

"He is clearly an odd combination of 12th century theologian and a 21st century CEO. He is what historians in the 19th century would have called a worthy opponent. You don't need to like him, but you do need to respect him simply because he has a greater ability to hurt the US than we have ever really acknowledged."

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On Al Qaeda's dimensions:

"We really don't have any idea how big Al Qaeda is.... I would be very hesitant to tell the American people that Al Qaeda was either dysfunctional or dispersed - or on the edge of extinction."

On why Al Qaeda terrorists have not attacked the US again since 9/11:

"The world is going their way. We are losing virtually everywhere in the Islamic world - in terms of propaganda, in terms of lives, in terms of stability. [Bin Laden] has to think that the fire he is trying to start is beginning to catch...."

On intelligence failures:

"Very seldom do intelligence failures come from the lack of intelligence. It comes from the lack of action."

On his view of the CIA:

"I am a CIA partisan.... I am not in any way attacking the institution. Our leadership, I think, has been surprisingly mediocre since the days of [Director William] Casey."


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