The Obama Administration likes to tout the number of senior al Qaeda leaders who have been killed, when declaring the terror group is on its deathbed. Most recently, the administration said that “22 out of 30 top Al Qaeda leaders,” or 73 percent, have been killed during counterterrorism operations. From The New York Times, Dec. 17, 2011:
The drone strikes and commando raids that the president recently boasted had killed “22 out of 30 top Al Qaeda leaders,” including Osama bin Laden, were honed in the night raids by American troops on militants in Iraq.
This is a refrain that has spanned presidential administrations. President Bush also claimed that 75 percent of al Qaeda’s leaders were killed or captured (back when we actually tried to capture al Qaeda leaders, that is). From The Washington Times, on June 7, 2005:
President Bush, in assessing progress in the war, often cites the statistic that 75 percent of known al Qaeda leaders have been killed or captured. The strategy has been generally that if you cut off the head of al Qaeda, the body will eventually die.
Same as it ever was…
Also see Threat Matrix report, The ‘only 50 to 100’ al Qaeda in Afghanistan fallacy.