(Video Credit: Fox News)
Retired Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg pointed out that President Biden and former President Trump were both right to contend that you “don’t need troops on the ground” to conduct effective counter-terrorism operations.
The former national security advisor to Vice President Mike Pence spoke with Fox News host Jesse Watters Monday to give his take on Biden’s remarks concerning the CIA taking out al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri with a drone over the weekend. He praised the CIA’s actions in conducting long-distance operations in Afghanistan.
“I’m sure there is going to be some people that are alarmed at the fact that a guy like this, the brains and the philosophy behind al Qaeda, the number two now the number one is just living openly in the capital of Afghanistan,” Watters noted throwing a bit of shade on the assertion that the terrorist was brazenly living out in the open as he introduced Kellogg.
“There must be more al Qaeda terrorists consolidating power there after we’ve left. Or you have people saying, you know, this is exactly what we wanted to do, conduct these counterterror strikes from the air without boots on the ground, using intelligence and using technology in order to keep our people safe. How do you see it?” he asked the former military leader.
“I’m not going to lose any sleep tonight,” Kellogg remarked and then praised Biden and U.S. intelligence for finally taking down Zawahiri.
“He was a thug. He was actually the mastermind behind bin Laden. He was the brains behind the outfits for, like, the chief operating officer,” Kellogg asserted.
“And we were able to find him and kill him and the president, President Biden is right. We’re going to find you and we’re going to kill you regardless of what it takes,” the general continued, giving what many believe is far too much credit to Biden.
“Let’s be clear,” as @JoeBiden likes to say, he likely had little to no say about killing Zawahiri. It was a CIA drone strike. Let’s see what the evidence shows, if we’ll ever see it. It’s politics.
— Buzz Patterson (@BuzzPatterson) August 1, 2022
Like a number of other officials before him, Kellogg is concerned that there has been no proof of death concerning Zawahiri. There has been no DNA or photographic evidence to confirm the terrorist’s actual death. On the other hand, he seems to contend that the CIA got the right man which has not been proven yet.
At one point he said, “Here’s the concern that I do have. The concern that I’ve got. Let’s make sure we verify we’ve got the guy. When we killed bin Laden we were able to verify we got him. When we killed Baghdadi we were able to verify we got him. When we killed Soleimani we were able to verify we’ve got him. Let’s make sure we verify that we actually got this guy so we are able to ensure the American people it was a good strike.”
Fox News contributors (Fred Fleitz and Gen. Keith Kellogg) call for proof it was Al Zawahiri who was killed, pointing out numerous mistaken identities in the past.
— Pete Reilly 🇺🇸 (@petenet321) August 1, 2022
“Here was an interesting thing the president said, and he’s absolutely right. President Trump was right. President Biden was right. We had said all along that you can attack these guys from a distance when you’ve got things like the Predator and Global Hawk with great loiter time, great ability to strike from a distance,” he pointed out.
“We said, you don’t need troops on the ground. President Trump said that, President Biden said that. He got out of Afghanistan in a very messy way. But, but I think the fact is true and I want to look to the military and say, look, we’ve been telling you this. We told you for the last four or five years, why didn’t you listen?” Kellogg asked.
“CIA has got a great ability to find these guys. We’ve got a great ability to strike and kill these guys. It was not a DOD operation. It was a CIA operation,” he concluded, as if that should somehow be more reassuring.
Following the Kellogg interview, Watters turned to Fox News host Bret Baier for more on his take concerning the event and its political ramifications.
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) August 1, 2022
“Tell me how you think that the White House is going to use this successful strike to propel the president in a more positive direction politically?” Watters queried Baier.
“I think that this helps his case for over-the-horizon ability to strike at terrorists. There was a lot of criticism after we pulled out of Afghanistan that our eyes and ears on the ground would hinder our ability to go after these big targets,” Baier answered, echoing Kellogg’s sentiments.
“This goes the other way,” he argued.
Not exactly a reassuring signal of what's to come.
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) August 2, 2022
“Now, you were just talking about the confirmation. He mentioned in the speech U.S. intelligence as well as regional partners. The intel officials I’ve talked to are confident that they confirmed Zawahiri’s death,” Baier reported.
“This is a UAV strike, drone strike by the CIA. Two Hellfire missiles fired and he was killed, we’re told, on a balcony at a residence. And his family was in a different part of the house. They were not hurt and there were no other casualties. Now, we’ve heard that before from this administration, and it didn’t turn out to be true. But the sources that we’re talking about say that this is very specific and they believe that this is Zawahiri,” he continued.
“So to your point, I think they’re going to use the ability to strike like this without U.S. troops on the ground, despite how chaotic and horrible the pullout from Afghanistan was. So that helps them politically, obviously, in telling that story,” Baier posited.
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