-Jose Rodriguez, ex-CIA chief and author of Hard Measures
While arguments are being made regarding the value of kills over capture…there’s also something satisfying about “swifter” forms of justice that do not drag out for years and years at taxpayers’ expense, along with making a mockery of our justice system.
Quso was traveling in a car with at least two other AQAP operatives when the unmanned Predators or Reapers fired missiles at his car, an intelligence official told The Long War Journal. Three AQAP operatives are believed to have been killed in the strike, which occurred at nighttime.
Quso has been sheltered by the Awlaki tribe, the same tribe that sheltered US cleric and AQAP ideologue and operational commander Anwar al Awlaki, who was killed in a US drone strike in September 2011.
The wanted AQAP leader has been the target of at least one other US airstrike, in July 2011. A convoy transporting Quso in Abyan province was hit by US aircraft, killing eight AQAP fighters. Quso survived the strike.
Previously, Quso was rumored to have been killed in a US Predator airstrike in Pakistan in September 2010. In October 2010, US intelligence officials warned The Long War Journal that the US had been unable to confirm Quso’s death. Al Qaeda did not release a martyrdom statement announcing Quso’s death.
On Dec. 7, 2010, the US State Department added Quso to the list of specially designed global terrorists, and the chief of State’s Terrorist Designations Unit told The Long War Journal that the US did not believe reports that Quso had been killed. Nine days later, Quso was interviewed by Al Sharq al Awsat and expressed surprise that people thought he had been killed in Pakistan.
Quso is considered to be a senior AQAP leader. According to the State Dept.’s designation in December 2010, he leads an al Qaeda cell in Yemen, and “is connected to other designated AQAP senior leaders, including Anwar al Awlaki [a top ideologue and propagandist], Nasir al Wuhayshi [AQAP's leader], and Said Ali al Shihri [AQAP's deputy leader].” In May 2010, Quso appeared in an AQAP propaganda video and threatened to attack the US and its interests abroad, including embassies and warships.
Quso is wanted by the FBI for his role in the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen. The suicide attack on the warship killed 17 US sailors. Quso is also known to have provided funds to a key planner of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the US. Quso was detained by Yemeni security forces after the Sept. 11 attacks, but escaped from prison in 2003. He was later recaptured in 2004, but released again by the Yemeni government in 2007, and quickly rejoined al Qaeda in Yemen.
Additionally, Quso has been identified as one of the AQAP operatives involved in the failed airline bombing attack over Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009.