Blunt: 'Symbol of Al-Qaida' Gone, But Threat Remains
WASHINGTON - Calling it "a huge moment for America," U.S. Senator Roy Blunt on Monday commended President Obama's decision to take out Osama bin Laden, saying his death has eliminated a central symbol of leadership for international terrorists.
"I applaud the President's decision to go in after him, and to bring his body out and bury it in compliance with Muslim traditions in a time period that would be appropriate," Blunt said.
Blunt said bin Laden primarily served as a fundraiser and "symbol of al-Qaida," but Blunt believed operations of al-Qaida are so "disjointed" that "command and central control is something al-Qaida is no longer dependent on." He pointed to al-Qaida in Yemen as an example of terrorist cells operating independently.
Blunt also discussed the intelligence leads that may have lead to bin Laden's capture. The Associated Press has reported prisoners whom the CIA subjected to "harsh interrogation techniques" in secret overseas facilities divulged the first leads to bin Laden. The Obama administration shuttered the controversial program first authorized by President George W. Bush, which Blunt had defended in the past.
"We're likely to find out in the next few days that the information coming from the interrogation came under an Obama presidency," Blunt said.
Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters in a conference call he knows little more about the operation that killed bin Laden than what is already available in the mainstream press.