Always assume the worst about the US...August 9 2004 at 9:58 PM
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Because Reuters, the BBC and various "world experts" ripped the arrest of Khan as "very unclever"(German "terror-expert" Rolf Tophoven), we must assume those who "outed" Khan were American idiots out to blow the whole operation. It's similar to the Wilson-Plame deal, in that the facts of the case aren't known to anyone in the general public or media, but everyone uses their prejudices to figure out exactly what happened, and why. Who's to blame?! Why, it must be Rummy, Ridge, or some neo-con news-hack. Makes sense to me!
The intricacies of intelligence work are beyond the grasp of most casual observers, and if you think you really know what's going on by reading the latest Reuters newsflash on Yahoo!, you may as well subscribe to the Weekly World News and follow the nefarious career of Batboy.
For all we know, Khan was found to be working against us entirely, and not in the capacity of a "mole," which makes a lot of sense given that he was a captured Al Qaeda op in the first place. You think he suddenly lost his religion, and decided to help the infidels crush the Jihad? Please.
Such a character is a very dodgy proposition, at best, useful only for a limited period, if he's useful at all. It appears he'd outlived his usefulness as a "double-agent," if indeed he was of any use in that capacity, and was rounded up with the rest of his terror-pals(that could be linked to him). It's likely, none of the others could be picked up, without "outing" Khan.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, another big capture today:
AUG 9, 2004
Senior Al-Qaeda trainer arrested
Linked to attempts on Pakistani President's life, he is handed to Islamabad
ISLAMABAD - A senior Pakistani Al-Qaeda operative who used to run one of the terror group's training camps in Afghanistan and was linked to assassination attempts on Pakistan's President has been arrested in Dubai and handed over to Islamabad.
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said yesterday that Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a leader of the radical Islamic group Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami, was in Pakistani custody.
The capture is the latest breakthrough in a broadening offensive against terrorist groups in Pakistan which has netted over 20 suspects in recent weeks, including computer engineer Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan and top Al-Qaeda figure Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani.
Akhtar ran an Al-Qaeda training camp in Rishkhor, Afghanistan, where terrorists learned kidnapping and assassination techniques, as well as traditional combat skills used by Taleban fighters in their war to win control of the country before they were ousted in late 2001.
Some 3,500 men passed through Rishkhor, a sprawling complex of shattered barracks and dusty training fields about 16km south of the Afghan capital, Kabul. The camp was deserted hours ahead of the United States bombing campaign in October 2001, and Akhtar got away.
Information gleaned from the arrests of Khan and Ghailani led to a terror warning in the US and a British sweep which netted about a dozen suspects.
Pakistan's intelligence services used information obtained from the recent arrests to track down Akhtar, described by a source as 'an operational head of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan'.
Akhtar is also linked to two assassination bids on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in December and a bid to kill Prime Minister-designate Shaukat Aziz in July.
Pakistan has captured hundreds of Al-Qaeda suspects since the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, including alleged mastermind of the hijacked airliner attacks on New York and Washington Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Many have been handed to the US, and the government is considering doing the same with Khan and Ghailani.
Pakistan's crackdown on Al-Qaeda in recent weeks has raised international hopes of dealing the terror network a telling blow, but security experts warn that it is clearly still active in Pakistan and poses a worldwide danger.
In Washington, a senior intelligence official said a Pakistani man whose arrest provided information about the reconnaissance of financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington was also communicating with Al-Qaeda operatives who the authorities say are plotting an attack intended to disrupt the November elections.
Senior intelligence and counterterrorism officials said it was not clear whether the people who were behind the surveillance of the financial institutions and the people involved in the election threat were part of the same group, or belonged to overlapping or separate ones.
Bush administration officials have talked about a potential threat to the election since the spring.
Increasingly, the US authorities suspect the figures believed to have been involved in the surveillance were active members of the terrorist network.
They say the clandestine manner in which they operated suggested that they wanted to carry out attacks inside the US. -- AP, Reuters, NYT