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Brian Castner @Brian_Castner
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Last night, the US admitted publicly that they killed al-Asiri in a drone strike. He was NOT a master bomb maker, & speaking now as a former EOD tech, the US obsession with al-Asiri embodies everything misguided about US natsec "strategy." (thread/)
Quick recap: al-Asiri is the reason we have body-scanners and laptop checks in airports, though he was fundamentally a failed bomb designer. He was the "mastermind" of plots that didn't work, but he was on the FBI's Most Wanted List for years. (2/)
His first target was the Saudi royal family - in 2009, he recruited his brother as a suicide bomber and inserted a device in his rectum, who activated it when meeting a minister. His brother died, the minister received minor injuries. (3/)
Plot #2 was the failed underwear bomb on a Christmas flight to Detroit. He also put devices in the ink cartridges of printers and shipped them to the US on cargo planes, but they were discovered and disarmed. (4/)
Al-Asiri never executed a successful attack. Despite this, TIME magazine called him the world's most dangerous man in 2013. (5/)…
And check out this breathless description: most sophisticated bomb-maker on the planet.

Wrong. Basic requirement of bomb-making is that your stuff works. (6/)
Don't get me wrong. Al-Asiri was dangerous and it's good he's gone. So what's the problem? While the US devoted massive resources to hunting a scary-but-bad bomber, we failed to catch the engineers designing successful devices in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. (7/)
AQ and IS fighters use kunyas as a nom de guerre. The kunya is often their child's name plus their birthplace, profession, or honorific. Those named al-muhandis, "the engineer," often design IEDs and car bombs. There are only a handful, and intel knows little about them. 8/
This sums up my frustration - here's how I put it in ALL THE WAYS WE KILL AND DIE: (9/)
While al-Asiri makes bad bombs & gets headlines and attention, these v few engineers travel like consultants to train individual cells. Collectively, they are responsible for the deaths of 100K's of Iraqi, Afghan, Syrian, Yemeni, and Somali civilians, + 1000s of US soldiers. 10/
Unlike al-Asiri, we know almost none of their names and faces. For example, in one of the few cases we do know, Abu Khabab al-Masri, the FBI put the wrong picture on the wanted poster for years. (11/)…
But at least he got a wanted poster, I guess.... (12/)
Point is, al-Asiri was a better boogeyman than bomber. And while he got us to all stand in line for hours at the airport, successful designers have been killing untold thousands for two decades. Another Forever War failure. (end/)
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