Let's not forget that the destruction of the Obelisk network will have created difficulties for AQ, too. It will have increased their reliance on human couriers for messaging. The US may have wanted to force AQ into using those in order to finalize a position on AQ leadership, or on other management assets in the terrorist organization. Forcing them to dismantle their network may have given the US an opportunity to triangulate through conventional means on Osama himself, or Ayman al-Zawahiri.
And Prairie Pundit says:
A cynic might suggest that someone in the CIA leaked it to harm the competition. It has been an agency that has a record of leaking things to harm the administration's policies and this is the type of leak that might be consistent with the prior ones. The SITE capture of the prereleased video was a real coup that probably shook up the al Qaeda geek staff. My guess is SITE or the NSA will probably be able to out geek them pretty quickly.
Again, a cynic might think this story is a cover to get the al Qaeda geeks comfortable with their new security measures so that they start sending data again.
We don't know at this point.
Hot Air is interested in another aspect of this story: Why is a private company running intel of this nature? From Allahpundit:
Fun bonus fact: SITE director Rita Katz claims White House counsel Fred Fielding told her that SITE had the video before the White House did, which is either nonsense they drummed up after the fact to lull Al Qaeda into thinking the feds are less hip to their game than a small, privately run intel organization or terrifying proof that the feds are, in fact, less hip to their game than a small, privately run intel organization.
But Jawa Report seems on to something else: perhaps the story is bogus. Jawa blogger Rusty reports that the ABC transcript of the video is dated September 6, 2007--but SITE claims to have given the video to the White House on September 7. He writes:
That means that the White House had a translation of the video a full 24 hours before SITE intercepted it. Apparently, our intel guys are better than we thought.
Sure, the fools over at al Ekhlaas have closed down their back room, but that doesn't mean there aren't other back rooms.
So, just because SITE's intel source got burned, doesn't mean that we've lost capability of tracking al Qaeda online. In fact, SITE was not the only one that had the "new" bin Laden 9/11 video before it was supposed to be released, as these two articles suggest.
And, he posted the video himself on September 7.
One thing is clear: This story needs to be investigated further before we can claim that this was a White House leak or major security breach.