On Sixty Minutes last night one had a treat -- the bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, smiling, affable, a winning face -- was interviewed by the dumb Bob Simon, ably assisted later on by the dumber Mr. Scheuer. This man (the bodyguard, I didn't write down his name) was perfectly believable, perfectly consistent. He's a True Believer. And he admires Bin Laden, would have gladly participated in the 9/11/2001 attack, remembers how Bin Laden bit in to a date and then put a bit in his little son's mouth, a kind of majnoon-based metempsychosis in which the spirit of Bin Laden enters the soul of the young 'un, and the guard, who said that Bin Laden would not tolerate bad words being said, looked forward to that same son growing up and becoming, not an "engineer" as the poor kid said he's like to be, but rather a martyr for the Faith. No doubt many watching assumed that this was a nearly-unique example, that it made no sense, that he must be a crazed extremist. You know differently.
It was appalling to see Scheuer on the show, and more appalling still to find out that he has actually been hired by CBS as some kind of "expert." Expert on what? His knowledge of Islam is non-existent. His knowledge of the great world is clearly slender. He is uneducated, uncultivated, polite in a cub-scout sort of way (even looks like a crewcutted, large, overgrown cub scout), and clearly will add nothing of value beyond the fact that once upon a time, five years or so ago, he proved a complete failure as head of something idiotically called the "Bin Laden Desk" (can you imagine Scheuer being asked to discuss the significance of other terrorist groups, or their comparative importance, or even being asked to make sense of the instruments of Jihad other than terrorism, such as what Hizb-ut-Tahrir has to offer in its campaigns of carefully-targetted Da'wa in the Western world?). Yet there he is, on a fat retainer from CBS.
Whose bright idea was that? Who decides what "experts" to hire? And why are they always, those "experts," in "terrorism" rather than in the broader matter of Jihad?
Well, Scheuer makes the case for the proposition that after the Cold War, after all those clever European immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe had helped the CIA, and whatever one thinks about the objects of James Angleton's suspicions, his general cultivation (anyone read the literary review he edited in college with Reed Whittemore? I have a nice copy) and that of other agents of the period made them better able to function. I am thinking fondly of a grandson of Buffalo Bill, met in Paris, the brother of a famous Harvard archeologist, who used to be stationed in Rome, the son of a famous writer who apparently helped to ease a Soviet general into a watery grave, a lacustrine grave, somewhere in Europe. If people at this level still exist in the CIA, and in the "anti-Jihad" department -- hey, is there such a department at the CIA, or is this still too painful to recognize and to fathom? -- they are nowhere in evidence.
When one sees former CIA employees who turn out to be as unimpressive, as slow-witted as Scheuer, it's worrisome. Or glamour girls like the one married to the oily, Gucci-loafered Joe Wilson -- like Valerie Plame, the one now suing for all that money. It's enough worrying about infiltrators on behalf of Islam, the kind who tried recently to "volunteer" for service in the British security services. It's more than enough worrying about those who apparently find that they sympathize with, can even make the case for, terrorist groups, men such as Alistair Crooke who lobbied on behalf of Hamas (a reflection of what? of antipathy to Israel, for the obvious reasons, so great that he could not see the connection of one terrorist group to another, could not see how Hamas threatens not just Israelis but all Infidels?). How many more Crookes are there, still at MI5? How many more Scheuers? Moral simpletons, and the other kind, and even publicity-hounds pretending to be the opposite, in our new and unimproved security services, are a problem for Infidels everywhere.