On Oct. 29, 2004, just four days before the U.S. presidential election, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden released a videotape denouncing George W. Bush. Some Bush supporters quickly spun the diatribe as "Osama's endorsement of John Kerry." But behind the walls of the CIA, analysts had concluded the opposite: that bin-Laden was trying to help Bush gain a second term.
"At the five o'clock meeting, [deputy CIA director] John McLaughlin opened the issue with the consensus view: 'Bin-Laden certainly did a nice favor today for the President.'"
But the CIA analysts also felt that bin-Laden might have recognized how Bush's policies - including the Guantanamo prison camp, the Abu Ghraib scandal and the endless bloodshed in Iraq - were serving al-Qaeda's strategic goals for recruiting a new generation of jihadists.
By demanding an American surrender, bin-Laden knew U.S. voters would instinctively want to fight. That way bin-Laden helped ensure that George W. Bush would stay in power, would continue his clumsy "war on terror" - and would drive thousands of new recruits into al-Qaeda's welcoming arms.
This is all undeniably so, on one level: that OBL came up with it unaided and on his own.
The level that no one mentions yet is this: what was the degree of contact and co-operation between the Bushes, the Saudis, and the bin-Ladens, and was it before 9/11 as well as after?