May 09, 2005


Er, there seems to be some debate out there as to whether the latest big al-Qaeda capture, Abu Faraj al-Libbi, was confused with someone else or even an important capture, for that matter. But Dan Darling—whose terrorism analysis is always stellar—does the research and argues that no, this guy was definitely a major al-Qaeda dude. If not the #3 man, whatever that matters, then at least "one of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's deputies who has been linked to terrorist attacks in both the United Kingdom as well as to a potential attack during the US presidential election or the inauguration." So no confusion. Also, there was this interesting passage from Time magazine:
Hours before the Libyan's arrest was made public last Wednesday, two Pakistani journalists received telephone calls from men identifying themselves as al-Qaeda. The callers asked that news of al-Libbi's arrest be broadcast, hoping to dissuade other operatives from trying to contact him and to alert his associates to flee before U.S. and Pakistani authorities could track them down. When asked how he knew that al-Libbi had been caught, the caller replied, "Because he used to be with us."
Well, good. Our intelligence agencies seem to know what they're doing. Of course, it's no puzzle why most people assume our intelligence agencies don't know what they're doing. But certainly it's an amusingly far cry from the good old days the CIA was thought to be the all-powerful puppet-master behind every kidnapping, conspiracy, and assassination on the face of the earth.
-- Brad Plumer 1:58 PM || ||