"sleeper cells" (WOTY candidate?)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Sep 15 15:12:26 UTC 2001

I just heard (Retired?) General Clark, who I remember from the Bosnia
war and who is now a CNN military consultant, refer to the existence
of "sleeper cells" in the terrorist network.  A google search turned
up this earlier use in a column at
http://www.onlinecolumnist.com/032601.html called "Terrorism's New
Malignancy" by John M. Curtis that warned last March rather
prophetically, "Entering a bold new age of global terrorism, the U.S.
is no longer immune to subversion and infiltration, requiring
heightened security and adroit counter-measures":
  When a suicide bomber blasted a 40-foot long hole in the hull of the
U.S.S. guided missile destroyer Cole in the Yemen port of Aden
killing 17 seamen, suspicions were raised about a "sleeper cell"
being activated in the Arabian peninsula. All CIA reports pointed in
the direction of Osama bin Laden. Dismissing this fact makes good
public relations, but doesn't acknowledge the reality that most
recent terrorism against U.S. interests leads to Kabul.
Other cites refer directly to the current attack and the
investigation of the perpetrators.  I don't know how far back the
term goes.  There are earlier medical uses of "sleeper cell"
(referring to cancer), but I don't know if this is a coincidence.


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