Smoking Gun

According to reports in the New York Times and elsewhere, a tape of Osama bin Laden's first reactions to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks has surfaced. The tape allegedly reveals something that I had suspected from the very start: In another section of the crudely produced tape, bin Laden's comments suggest that the plot's ringleaders did not tell all the hijackers that their mission would end in death.

It's one thing to maintain operational discipline among an elite group of a few people who know they are going to die. It's another to have a couple dozen people all retain that focus over multiple years and difficult times. The money that funded these missions contributed to the ease in which the terrorists floated through countries and societies: less money and less difficulty would have meant less commitment to their goal.