Laden had 'no clue' about Sept. 11 retaliation
Bin Laden had 'no clue' about Sept. 11 retaliation - wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Osama bin Laden had no idea the U.S. would hit al-Qaida as hard as it has since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a former bin Laden associate tells WTOP in an exclusive interview.
"I'm 100 percent sure they had no clue about what was going to happen," says Noman Benotman, who was head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the summer of 2000.
"What happened after the 11th of September was beyond their imagination, " says Benotman, who adds that al-Qaida thought the U.S. was a "paper tiger."
"I've spent time in the front line engaging with the enemy more than bin Laden and [Ayman Al-]Zawahiri and the entire group of al-Qaida."
Zawahiri laughed when he warned those at the 2000 meeting that the U.S. response would be swift, hard and long, Benotman says.
Benotman attributes al-Qaida's overconfident attitude to the United States' response to al-Qaida attacks on its in embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1998.
Zawahiri, according to Benotman, expected only a missile attack.
"When they attacked the embassies in East Africa, they estimated the U.S. launched 75 cruise missiles and eight people got killed. So they said this time, maybe they will launch 200 and they laughed about this."