Al Qaeda—Deflated and Damaged

The killing of Osama Bin Laden has more profoundly damaged Al Qaeda’s structure and morale than US officials had expected, said Daniel Benjamin, State Department counterterrorism coordinator. “Bin Laden was more involved in running that organization than one would have thought that a man, as isolated as he was, could be,” Benjamin told reporters Tuesday during a meeting in Washington D.C. “He was not only an iconic figure,” but judging from intelligence gathered from Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, “he was actually deeply involved in strategy,” asserted Benjamin—something that evidently surprised State Department officials. Bin Laden’s death was not only “deflating” to Al Qaeda’s morale, but more importantly damaged the terrorist organization’s operational capacity, Benjamin said. “They’ve lost their primary symbol, a symbol of endurance over these years, but they’ve also lost one of their chief thinkers,” he said.