Editor’s note: This article is based on reporting for tonight’s episode of For The Record, TheBlaze TV’s investigative news magazine. Tune in at 8:30 p.m. ET to watch.

China, Russia and even Al Qaeda, among others, all have one thing in common:  They believe that unconventional warfare against America’s economy is the best way to destroy our nation without actually ever having to fire a shot.

And our enemies almost made it happen in 2008.

Stock Market Spinning

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On Thursday night’s episode of TheBlaze TV’s “For The Record,” “Unrestricted Warfare” (8:30 p.m. ET), former senior U.S. officials disclose what the Pentagon and Washington establishment had been hoping to bury — that the near economic collapse of the United States in 2008 was not due to widespread failures in government regulations, but a planned attack to destroy our nation perpetrated by both China and Russia.

On Sept. 11, 2008, investment banking firms Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns collapsed and that could have been caused by an intentional short-selling attack, said Kevin Freeman, a financial analyst who was commissioned by the Pentagon shortly after the economic meltdown.

“Someone with half-a-trillion dollars could literally cause a panic that would destroy the whole American economy,” he said.

Freeman was hired to investigate whether the stock market crisis was the result of financial terrorism or something else.

He told TheBlaze that there were several areas in which traditional explanations for the crisis failed to answer some of the most important questions. He noted in his report that countries hostile to the U.S. and our interests overseas may have artificially driven up the price of oil and purposefully crashed the U.S. stock market.

When Freeman turned his findings over to the government he was stalled from completing the rest of his investigation and his report was buried. Freeman said a multi-star general whom he spoke with in the Pentagon told him, “what you’re writing about does not fit the political narrative.”

Unfortunately, it is the political narrative of America’s enemies.

Just two years before the 9/11 attacks, two officers in China’s People’s Liberation Army produced a report titled “Unrestricted Warfare” and noted that Osama bin Laden’s bait game, in which Al Qaeda targeted U.S. assets overseas with the hope of dragging the U.S. into a expensive war far from home, was the best unconventional approach to destroying America and its economy.

Only two years after the book was written, Al Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon left the United States reeling in a severe economic downfall.

Ayman Al-Zawahri

Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri has called for “sporadic” strikes against the U.S. to collapse an already troubled economy. (AP)

And on Sept. 11 of this year, Al Qaeda’s new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for “sporadic” strikes inside the United States with the hopes of collapsing what he says is an already weakened economy due to more than 12 years of fighting terrorism overseas.

In audio released to Jihad websites on Sept. 11, al-Zawahiri called on Muslims to adopt an approach of “sporadic blows” inside the U.S. in order to increase the burden on the American economy.

“Such an approach will keep the U.S. in a constant state of heightened security,” al-Zawahri said in a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a nonprofit group that provides translations and research from the Middle East.

“Still, Muslims should await every chance to deliver a major attack against the U.S., even if they had to wait years for such an attack,” al-Zawahri said.

Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, told “For The Record” that economic warfare is a very real threat to the country.

“Unrestricted warfare of the Chinese is very similar to Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and its allies generally,” Scheuer said. “They realize what an enormous military power they’re up against and want to avoid a direct confrontation.”

The failure to recognize economic warfare is also based on a military culture that views warfare in more tactical fighting and adversarial, rather than the unconventional methods being used by other nation states that cannot stand up to America’s military might.

“There are many in defense that feel economic warfare should not be a part of the defense portfolio,” said Thomas O’Connell, former assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict. “But their own doctrine shows economic warfare is a subset of irregular warfare. I think to say it’s not a problem for the Department of Defense is not being realistic in terms of where the capabilities of our government actually exist.”