To the Editor:

Marcus Jones makes excellent points about the failure of the CIA’s human intelligence in his recent column (“CIA has much to learn from John Lindh” 1/29). But doing what the American Taliban John Walker Lindh did would not be easy for CIA infiltrators.

In all likelihood, Lindh had to prove his loyalty before his full acceptance by the Taliban, perhaps by executing prisoners or committing some similar atrocity against civilians. Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and those operating as part of Yassir Arafat’s Fatah regularly engage in such initiation. Rather than infiltration as a method of counterterrorism, perhaps the United States should rely more on the eradication of the terrorist menace.

Michael Rubin ’94 GRD ’99

January 29, 2002

The writer has worked as a researcher and policy analyst in Afghanistan and has written on Iranian fundamentalism.