US counterterrorism czar arrives

Crumpton has been described as 'a revered master of CIA covert operations.'

henry crumpton298 88 DOS (photo credit: US State Department)
henry crumpton298 88 DOS
(photo credit: US State Department)
Henry A. Crumpton, the US State Department's chief counterterrorism official, who last month said he did not rule out military action against Iran, arrived Tuesday night for three days of talks. Crumpton, described by The Washington Post as "a revered master of CIA covert operations" who "formally came in from the cold" last August to take on the State Department job, was a key architect of the US strategy to use elite intelligence and military officers together with Afghan opposition to oust the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. As the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, he will be leading the US delegation here for the annual Joint US-Israeli counterterrorist dialogue. Crumpton "starred" in the National Commission report on 9/11 as the person, known simply as "Henry," who pressed the CIA to do more in Afghanistan to hunt down Osama bin Laden before the attacks, but who had two of his key proposals rejected. In an interview last month with the Daily Telegraph, Crumpton said that he rated the probability of terrorist groups using weapons of mass destruction to attack Western targets as "very high." "If we look at the threat posed by Iran, they have links with Hizbullah, which is a terrorist organization with global reach, and they are actively pursuing WMD. And the leadership has made a conscious decision to defy international treaties. I am deeply troubled by this," he said. WMD threats and WMD capacity-building in the region, especially the Iranian nuclear issue, are among the topics of his discussions here. Crumpton, in his interview last month, said that "every option is on the table" regarding Iran - including military action. "I would not rule out anything because of the particularly grave threat that we are facing," he said. Crumpton also said that Syria and President Bashar Assad also seriously threaten Western security. "The regime continues to support terror organizations. And we know that the [Iraqi] Ba'athist leadership fled to Damascus, taking with them money and terrorist expertise, and we cannot rule out the fact that some of that expertise related to WMD." In addition to visiting Israel, Crumpton will also visit Algeria, Egypt and Kuwait. While here, he is expected to meet Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, National Security Council head Giora Eiland and Foreign Ministry Director-General Ron Prosor. This will be his first joint counterterrorism dialogue with Israel since he took over his position. Among the other topics for discussion are "professional assessments," an update on multilateral efforts to combat terrorism and the financing of terrorism from Europe.