• 2 weeks ago
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Trump never wanted to take out top al-Qaida target al-Zawahiri because he didn’t recognize his name. President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. killed top al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who served as Osama bin Laden’s No. 2 in the ongoing attacks on the United States. But according to an NBC report from 2020, former President Donald Trump had an opportunity to do the same, but refused because he didn’t recognize al-Zawahiri’s name. Reporting in early 2020, NBC news reported that intelligence official’s briefed then-President Trump many times about the most worrisome terrorist threats, specifically mentioning al-Zawahri. Trump would ultimately agree to take out ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Yemeni al Qaeda chief Qasim al-Rimi. But other of the significant names on the CIA’s list were ignored.
Trump “was more interested in a young and less influential figure much farther down the list, according to two people familiar with the briefings, because he recognized the name,” the report said at the time. “He would say, ‘I’ve never heard of any of these people. What about Hamza bin Laden?’” the former official told NBC. A Pentagon official agreed, noting, “That was the only name he knew.” By contrast, Biden explained that after “relentlessly seeking Zawahiri for years under Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year. He had moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family.” (The Gabber)