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Sunday, August 8, 2004

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  1. I dunno- I read the multiple stories on this and maybe my pea sized brain is missing something- I can’t figure out who did what to whom.

    The reuters story was so poorly written I wanted to hit my monitor. They said repeatedly he was working for “The Authorities” but never bothered us with details like WHICH authorities.

    If you wanna do your readership a favor, figure out what the hell happened and put it in English.


    BTW- I’m also perplexed as to why you called Kevin Drum reasonable in your comments. He started down the kook path a year ago and as the AWOL story, he lost his compass and all hope of finding his way back to reality. I find it astounding Washington Monthly let’s him be the face of their paper.

    Comment by Paul — Sunday, August 8, 2004 @ 4:04 pm

  2. The sort of double-agent activities being discussed are among the most sensitive the Intelligence Community runs. I’d be more inclined to believe we used the operation as long as it was fruitful and then declared it when it was about to be “burned” anyway. That way, we get the benefit of the actions themselves and the publicity for running a successful operation. Plus, if we ran this reasonably well, our “friends” in Al Qaeda cannot be certain of when we nabbed and “turned” him, so they cannot be sure of how much we know. We may even have been able to inject some false information into the communications circuit that could lead to more arrests and/or other successes. In all, this could potentially disrupt a number of ongoing Al Qaeda/affiliate activities and force them to try different approaches for command/control/coordination.

    I don’t have any “inside information” on this, but I’d argue that it’s no less plausible than an assumption that we screwed up…

    Comment by Jem — Sunday, August 8, 2004 @ 6:11 pm

  3. Steven,

    What did I tell you about Kevin Drum?

    Comment by John Lemon — Sunday, August 8, 2004 @ 11:15 pm

  4. Dynamite revelations today on that one - and it most definitely ain’t good news for Bush.

    (1) :

    “CNN on Khan Scandal: Has it Prevented the Capture of Bin Laden?

    “The story of how the Bush administration prematurely outed Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a double agent working for Pakistan against al-Qaeda, has finally hit cable television news. MSNBC picked up the story on Saturday.

    “On Sunday at around 12:30 pm, Wolf Blitzer’s show referred to it. New York Senator Charles Schumer criticized the Bush administration for revealing Khan’s name. He noted the annoyance of British Home Minister Blunkett (see below) and Pakistani Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat with the Americans for blowing Khan’s cover. He said Hayat complained that if Khan’s name had not been reveaeled to the New York Times by the Bush administration, he might well have provided information that would have led to the capture of Usamah Bin Laden himself!

    “Blitzer then revealed that he had discussed the Khan case with US National Security Adviser Condaleeza Rice on background. He reported that she had admitted that the Bush administration had in fact revealed Khan’s name to the press. She said she did not know if Khan was a double agent working for the Pakistani government. (!!!)…

    “The outing of Khan, probably the most important asset the US has ever had inside al-Qaeda, is a huge disaster and a setback to attempts to finish off the top leadership of al-Qaeda.”

    (2) Confirmation of all of this at

    (3) :

    “Bush Administration outing of Khan Enabled 5 al-Qaeda Cell Members to Escape Capture

    “Neville Dean of PA News reports that a magistrate has given British police only until Tuesday to finish questioning 9 of 13 men arrested August 3 on suspicion of being part of an al-Qaeda cell. The men had been in email correspondence with Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, who since mid-July has been functioning as a double agent for the Pakistani government. He was arrested in Lahore on July 13 and “flipped.”

    “The Bush administration revealed Khan’s name to US journalists on Sunday August 1 on background, and it appeared in the US press on Monday. The Bush administration thus effectively outed Khan as a double agent (he sent emails to his London contacts as late as Monday).

    “The British MI5 was forced to have the London cell of 13 arrested immediately on Tuesday, fearing that they would flee now that they knew Khan had been arrested two weeks earlier. The British do not, however, appear to have finished gathering enough evidence to prosecute the 13 in the courts successfully.

    “It now turns out, according to Neville, that ‘Reports last week also claimed that five al Qaida militants were on the run in the UK after escaping capture in last Tuesdays raids.” If this is true, it is likely that the 5 went underground on hearing that Khan was in custody. That is, the loose lips of the Bush administration enabled them to flee arrest.”

    (4) Which explains why Tony Blair’s Home Secretary is absolutely - and publicly - livid with Bush: :

    “It turns out that both the United Kingdom and Pakistan are extremely angry with Bush for going public with the details gleaned from the computers of Khan and Ghailani.

    “In an article for the Observer, British Home Secretary David Blunkett lashed out at the Bush White House over last Sunday’s announcement by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge of an old al-Qaeda plot against financial institutions in New York and Washington. Blunkett writes,

    ” ‘. . . over the last four days there has been column inch after column inch devoted to the fact that in the United States there is often high-profile commentary followed, as in the most current case, by detailed scrutiny, with the potential risk of inviting ridicule . . . it is important to be able to distinguish if there is a meaningful contribution that helps to secure us from terrorism. And to understand if there isn’t. And there are very good reasons why we shouldn’t reveal certain information to the public. Firstly, we do not want to undermine in any way our sources of information, or share information which could place investigations in jeopardy. Second, we do not want to do or say anything which would prejudice any trial.’

    “Blunkett’s measured tones barely disguise his fury at the Bush administration for having gone public with details that have endangered an ongoing British investigation and forced the premature arrest of twelve suspects, against whom it is not clear a case can be made at this point. Blunkett was also clearly dismayed by the controversy that broke out in the US when it was learned that the surveillance of the financial institutions was several years old. Although the Bush administration maintains that the file had been ‘updated’ as late as January 2004, The Guardian says that all this means was that the file was opened in that month. No new information appears to have been entered; this was a sort of browsing.”,1373,1278731,00.html,1320,1278826,00.html

    (5) But the most interesting revelation of all is strong evidence as to exactly WHY the White House spilled the beans:

    Comment by Bruce Moomaw — Monday, August 9, 2004 @ 2:36 am

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