Al Qaeda's attack on the USS Cole
CMDR Kirk Lippold, the Captain of the USS Cole, shares his story
- Duration 6:30
- Date Apr 11, 2012
CMDR Kirk Lippold, the Captain of the USS Cole, shares his story
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You we're gonna go ten years in fact -- more than ten years in the past.
We're gonna charge -- man -- career I've followed and someone who I've been so impressed.
With the way he is dealt with all of the things life has thrown to him.
As -- captain -- commander Kirk -- -- who was that commitment that captain of the USS call.
When it was -- Before September 11 why things are you got a new book out which I think it's just -- it's just.
It's called first burner.
When you want -- commander of the USS Cole.
You saw what the intelligence communities miss you flagged this as something al-Qaeda wasn't just alone one off.
She what a terrible thing it's never going to happen again -- you -- a guy who said this is the beginning of something.
You see that nobody else on.
Well I think KT I just took a look at it and realize that al-Qaeda had made a fundamental leave when they attack USS Cole.
We had the attacks on World Trade Center one on Khobar Towers the embassies.
Those are buildings that house and represent US interest but when you -- tackle warship.
That's something that defends US interest and citizens around the globe and when you attack something that defends and protects those interest.
It's an act of war.
And we fundamentally missed that opportunity to really look at it in the larger context of the threat that al-Qaeda.
Was to our nation and on partially we had one administration the Clinton administration.
That had had plenty of warning.
Did nothing to it for essentially eight years throughout their administration.
-- we attack on the USS Cole occurred.
All they really wanted to do between October and January 20 was wrap up the investigation and get out of office so they didn't leave anything on the table.
As compared to the Bush Administration came in that kind of had this we're forward looking -- backward acting.
And you had a disconnect in national security policy that clearly the nation paid a tragic price for on September 11 and -- we're still paying for today.
One of the things I was start I think I went back and looked at the 2000 debates between.
Banning governor -- And vice president.
Al Gore and in the debates they were asked all sorts of questions that nobody brought up the question of the USS Cole bombing.
And yet it was something that as you point out it was it was a clear president is somebody declare war on us is because we never understood the notion.
Of -- sub national group and other words we're looking for enemies or countries we weren't looking for enemies who were a bunch of guys in a cave in Afghanistan.
I think what you really saw was an attitude that had been building.
Literally for decades where the US government was somewhat.
Willing to live with the loss of American life due to terrorists.
Around the world as somewhat of a price that we would pay for being on the international stage.
And it truly wasn't until we became attack right here at home on our homeland.
That we realize we have let this go for too far too long.
And now these trans national really in some ways while they say it's not a -- state sponsored terrorism.
They clearly get their money from somewhere especially the degree did al-Qaeda did.
Where they came and attacked this right here on our homeland and now is where we were on -- unwilling to wait any longer.
And then we had to make the decision that we were no longer going to be reactive when it came to terrorist attacks.
That we needed to be preemptive we need to invest in the intelligence community and in the people they go out there in harm's way to learn about these organizations.
Go hunt them down and kill them.
Well we did is al-Qaeda now -- bin Laden's gone al-Qaeda al-Qaeda prime.
Doesn't seem to be active anymore there's -- cut over and we packed her bags and say great victory mission account.
It's absolutely not if you think for one minute it may not be al-Qaeda the next time but trust me.
These people who wish to do our nation harm.
They're just gonna come up under another banner they are still bent on taking out the United States and everything that we apparently stand for throughout the world.
For freedom and democracy because they're doing and it.
Under a very hateful and twisted with religious ideology.
That we cannot we cannot allow to happen and we need to continue to fight it on every front that we can not just militarily.
But especially in information and getting people -- letting them learn about what our country represents and what benefit it has.
In having an open and free society or free speech or freedom of speech is protected.
Okay so what you're talking about a a soft -- -- American diplomacy of the stuff we used during the Cold War where we try to do.
Let the world now that we you know while the things that you just said that we stand for.
Other military -- should we be looking for and you're a guy who always has seen what's coming.
What do you see coming down the road in the next five or ten years as a military threat to the United States.
I think the biggest threat that we have we're facing right now and that is the economic threat because if it's it's nice to have almost soft power things that you also have to have a military.
With not only the capability but the willingness to use it and my concern right now is that we seem to be -- -- administration that is very uncomfortable.
With the military instrument of power and they only want to use it.
When it is more in pursuit of political agenda than in real national security objectives I don't feel any safer today than I did on October -- 2000.
Because I think we are compromising in number of areas look at fact at one -- the -- one to me comes from Guantanamo Bay.
Following USS Cole and went to work on the Joint Chiefs of Staff I was instrumental along with a number of my friends to put together what became detainee policy.
Guantanamo Bay was stood up and when people ask why Guantanamo.
I looked at it as it should be the intelligence center for excellence in the war on terror for the United States government.
It should be the place where we bring those terrorists.
Where we can interrogate them interview them whatever term you want to use.
But that's where you learn to find out how these terrorist groups al-Qaeda or otherwise recruit.
Train -- financing conduct terrorist operations.
Because only when you truly understand how these groups operate can you target them for defeat and I think that we need to make to Guantanamo.
Not the detention facility that it is unfortunately morphed into.
We in fact shouldn't make it that intelligence jewel the crown jewel in our intelligence efforts to keep our nation safe why.