|Injured passengers are escorted away from Edgware Road station. (AP Photo/ Jane Mingay)|
Noor Khan had been captured by Pakistani authorities and his laptop computer had revealed several active al-Qaeda members in Britain and had led to their arrest. After his capture Noor Khan had begun to cooperate with his captures and had remained in contact with other members of al-Qaeda as a mole, which was a massive intelligence coup, until his identity and compromised status revealed by the Bush Administration.
ABC News just reported that the British authorities say they have evidence that the London attacks last week were an operation planned by Al Qaeda for the last two years. This was an operation the Brits thought they caught and stopped in time, but they were wrong. The piece of the puzzle ABC missed is that this is an operation the Bush administration helped botch last year.This is exactly the same thing I wrote about two months ago when Abu Farraj al-Libby (the other supposed Number 3 Man in al-Qaeda who wasn't) was caputured by Pakistani Officials following an attempt on the life of Pakistani President Musharrif. Just as in this case, the Bush Administration used the news of this capture to grandstand and potentially sacrificed untold amounts of vital intelligence information that could have been discovered by keeping the capture of high-level
I.e., last year Bush botched the effort to thwart the London subway attacks.
1. The London bombers, per ABC, are connected to an Al Qaeda plot planned two years ago in Lahore, Pakistan.
2. Pakistani authorities recovered the laptop of a captured Al Qaeda leader, Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, on July 13, 2004. On that laptop, they found plans for a coordinated series of attacks on the London subway. According to an expert interviewed by ABC, "there is absolutely no doubt that Khan was part of a worldwide Al Qaeda operation, not just in the United States but also in Great Britain and throughout the west."
Also important, but not reported by ABC this evening, after his arrest Khan started working for our side - sending emails to his other Al Qaeda buddies, working as our mole.
3. ABC reports that names in Khan's computer matched a suspected cell of British citizens of Pakistani decent, many of who lived near the town of Luton, England - Luton is the same town where, not coincidentally, last week's London bombing terrorists began their day. According to ABC, authorities thought they had stopped the subway plot with the arrest of more than a dozen people last year associated with Khan. Obviously, they hadn't.
4. Those arrests were the arrests that the Bush administration botched by announcing a heightened security alert the week of the Democratic Convention. The alert was raised because of information found on Khan's computer (this is in the public record already, see below). In its effort to either prove that the alert was serious, or to try and scare people during the Dem Convention, the administration gave the press too much information about WHY they raised the alert. This put the media on the trail of Khan - they found him, and they published his name.
Because the US let the cat out of the bag, the media got a hold of Khan's name and published the fact that he had been captured - his Al Qaeda contacts thus found out their "buddy" was actually a mole, and they fled. Our sole source inside Al Qaeda was destroyed. As a result, the Brits had to have a high speed chase to catch some of Khan's Al Qaeda associates as they fled, and, according to press reports, the Brits and Pakistanis both fear that some slipped away.
Again, these were guys connected to the plot to blow up the London subway last week. Some may have escaped because of Bush administration negligence involving a leak. And in fact, ABC News' terrorism consultant says the group that bombed London was likely activated just after the arrests:"It is very likely this group was activated last year after the other group was arrested," Debat said
As I told KTLK-LA radio host Johnny Wendell today as a call-in guest, this is part of a pattern by the Bush Administration. It's going to happen again and again and again. Michael Scheauer, former head of the CIA Bin-Laden desks and author of Imperial Hubris has discussed this pattern of grandstanding and politically motifivated leaks at length:
... Leaks are a major factor limiting the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to defeat Osama bin Laden, et al. The first serious leak about al Qaeda was in the Washington Times after the 20 August 1998 U.S. cruise missle attack on al Qaeda camps near Khowst, Afghanistan. The attack was in response to the bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania thirteen days earlier. In the 24 August Times article, "Senior" U.S. Department of Defense officials revealed that precise U.S. targeting of the camps was based on electronically intercepting bin Laden's conversations.There are consequences to these actions, people have lost their lives. But unlike the claim of conservatives that Newseek was somehow responsible for the riot in Afghanistan for reporting what ultimately turned out to be a genuine problem with the desecreation of the Koran at Guantanemo Bay -- in this case, the Bush Administration really is directly responsible for allowing their ignorance and negligence to cost the lives of 54 people in London last week and possibly many more in the future.
... Because of such [sic] leaks, the United States cannot fully exploit its clandestine services's numerous, often astounding captures of senior al Qaeda fighters. From the capture of Abu Zubaydah in March 2002 to that of Khalid bin Attah in March 2003, word of the arrests has been leaked by senior U.S. officials within days,, and often hours of their occurrence.
...I can say with confidence that the most damaging leaks about al Qaeda come from the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the White House. A reliable rule of thumb for the reader is that the federal agencies who have done least to protect America from al Qaeda leak the most to take credit for others' work and disguise their years of failure.
Just as the Bush Administration completely bungled their handling of al-Qaeda prior to 9/11, by ignoring Richard Clarke, ignoring 52 warnings from the F.A.A., they've managed to completely screw-the-pooch in many other ways, and will continue to do so as long as people who put their own personal fortunes, and the fortunes of their political party ahead of the needs of the American people and the World War battle against terrorism.
They have to be held accountable, and I truly believe that eventually - particularly following the completley grilling that Scott McClennan has been receiving in the White House briefing room this week due to more and more revelations that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove was deeply involved in compromising the indentify of CIA covert operative Valarie Plame - they will be held accountable, in the most extreme way possible.
Multiple indictments and jail time for Karl Rove and other senior Administration Officials.
It's just a matter of time.