Friday, July 15, 2005

Blown Cover

Juan Cole has an extremely disturbing post concerning the Bush Administration's politicization of the war on terror during the 2004 campaign. Apparently, the administration released the name of a highly valued al-Qaeda operative that the Pakistanis and the British had "turned" and who was in email contact with U.K. terrorist cells. As Cole explains:
Either from a Bush administration source or from a Pakistani one (each government blames the other), they [the press] came up with the name of Muhammad Naeem Khan, a recently arrested al-Qaeda operative in Pakistan, and published it. But it turns out that the Pakistanis and the UK had "turned" Khan and were having him be in active email contact with the al-Qaeda network in the UK so as to track them down.

On August 3, the Bush administration released the name of Abu Eisa Khan, a suspected al-Qaeda operative in the UK who had been arrested. The motive for this shocking lapse in security procedure appears to have been the desire to trumpet a specific arrest.

All of these public pronouncements by the Americans infuriated the Pakistani and British police.

For the sake of three year old intelligence, the Bush administration had helped blow the first inside double agent the Pakistanis and the British had ever developed. The British had been preparing a set of indictments and pursuing the investigation, in part by using Khan. They were forced to move before they were ready. Some suspects escaped on hearing Naeem Khan's in the media. Of those who were arrested, several had to be released for lack of evidence against them.

Muhammad Sadique Khan, one of the July 7 bombers, was apparently connected to one of the suspects under surveillance in early August, 2004.
Place this on top of the Rove-Wilson-Plame fiasco and we have an administration more concerned with internal discipline and political power than protecting this country and our allies from terrorist attack.