WH spox Jay Carney on death of "AQ's No. 2" from 2day's press briefing. "No.2" was a "General Manager":
Q Can you confirm the death of al Qaeda number two, al-Libi in the U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, and comment please on what his assassination would mean for the al Qaeda organization, your fight against it and, secondly, for U.S. relations with Pakistan?
MR. CARNEY: I can tell you that our intelligence community has intelligence that leads them to believe that al Qaeda's number-two leader, al-Libi, is dead. I can't get into details about how his death was brought about. But I can tell you that he served as al Qaeda's general manager, responsible for overseeing the group's day-to-day operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan, and he managed outreach to al Qaeda's regional affiliates.
His death is part of the degradation that has been taking place to core al Qaeda during the past several years. And that degradation has depleted the ranks to such an extent that there is now no clear successor to take on the breadth of his responsibilities, and that puts additional pressure on al Qaeda's post-bin Laden leader, Zawahiri, to try to manage the group in an effective way. This would be a major blow -- we believe al-Libi's death is a major blow to core al Qaeda, removing the number-two leader for the second time in less than a year and further damaging the group's morale and cohesion, and bringing it closer to its ultimate demise than ever before.
Q Just to follow on the Pakistan question -- if this was a U.S. drone strike it would be the second U.S. attack that killed a senior al Qaeda leader within Pakistan's borders in a very short period of time, and they didn't respond so well to the first one.
MR. CARNEY: What I can tell you is that our government has been able to confirm al-Libi's death. I don't have anything for you on the circumstances of his death or the location. I can simply say that he was the number-two leader in al Qaeda, and this is the second time in less than a year that the number-two leader of al Qaeda has been removed from the battlefield.
And that represents, in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden, another serious blow to core al Qaeda in what is an ongoing effort to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat a foe that brought great terror and death to the United States on September 11th, 2001, and that has perpetrated acts of terrorism against innocent civilians around the globe.
Q You said that his breadth of experience would be difficult to replace, but the organization has shown that it can get a warm body wherever it needs to and continually regenerate. What is it about him that makes him -- made him particularly valuable?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I think he was very much an operational leader, general manager, of al Qaeda with a range of experience that is hard to replicate. I think that it is a job that is hard to fill and that there may not be, given the duration of late that people have held that job, that there could be a lot of candidates hoping to fill.
So the point is that removing leaders like al-Libi from the very top of al Qaeda is part of an ongoing effort to disrupt and dismantle, and ultimately defeat al Qaeda. And that is an important piece of business.