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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Quotes of the Morning: The Wrath of Khan

"I'll start off by apologizing for the length of this, but it is an interesting story."

"Officials tell ABC News the London bombers have been connected to an al Qaeda plot planned two years ago in the Pakistani city of Lahore.
The laptop computer of Naeem Noor Khan, a captured al Qaeda leader, contained plans for a coordinated series of attacks on the London subway system, as well as on financial buildings in both New York and Washington.
‘'There's absolutely no doubt he was part of an al Qaeda operation aimed at not only the United States but Great Britain,' explained Alexis Debat, a former official in the French Defense Ministry who is now a senior terrorism consultant for ABC News.
At the time, authorities thought they had foiled the London subway plot by arresting more than a dozen young Britons of Pakistani descent last August in Luton, a city known for its ties to terrorism.
'For some time, the locus of terrorism in Britain has been around the Luton area and in some of the northern cities,' said Michael Clark, professor of defense at King's College in London.
Security officials tell ABC News they have discovered links between the eldest of the London bombers, Mohammed Sadique Khan, 30, and the original group in Luton. Officials also believe it was not a coincidence the subway bombers all met at the Luton train station last week."
-ABC News, July 14, 2005

“So here is a report linking the London attacks to a previous plot in England last year. I guess that England’s intelligence groups didn’t get them all when they busted the group previously.”

"The disclosure to reporters of the arrest of an al-Qaida computer expert jeopardized Pakistani efforts to capture more members of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, government and security officials said Tuesday.
Two senior Pakistani officials said initial reports in 'Western media' last week of the capture of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan had enabled other al-Qaida suspects to get away, but declined to say whether U.S. officials were to blame for the leak.
'Let me say that this intelligence leak jeopardized our plan and some al-Qaida suspects ran away,' one of the officials said on condition of anonymity....
But the Pakistani officials said that after Khan's arrest, other al-Qaida suspects had abruptly changed their hide-outs and moved to unknown places.
The first official described the initial publication of the news of Khan's arrest as 'very disturbing.'
'We have checked. No Pakistani official made this intelligence leak,' he said."
-Associated Press, August 10, 2004

"The effort by U.S. officials to justify raising the terror alert level last week may have shut down an important source of information that has already led to a series of al Qaeda arrests, Pakistani intelligence sources have said.
Until U.S. officials leaked the arrest of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan to reporters, Pakistan had been using him in a sting operation to track down al Qaeda operatives around the world, the sources said.
In background briefings with journalists last week, unnamed U.S. government officials said it was the capture of Khan that provided the information that led Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to announce a higher terror alert level...."
-CNN, August 9, 2004

"'By exposing the only deep mole we've ever had within al-Qaeda, it ruined the chance to capture dozens if not hundreds more,' a former Justice Department prosecutor, John Loftus, told Fox News on Saturday."
-IPS-Inter Press Service, August 9, 2004

"A captured Al Qaeda computer whiz was E-mailing his comrades as part of a sting operation to nab other top terrorists when U.S. officials blew his cover, sources said yesterday.
Within hours of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan's name being publicized Monday, British police launched lightning raids that netted a dozen suspected Al Qaeda terrorists, including one who was nabbed after a high-speed car chase....
Now British and Pakistani intelligence officials are furious with the Americans for unmasking their super spy - apparently to justify the orange alert - and for naming the other captured terrorist suspects."
-NY Daily News, August 7, 2004

“Oops. I guess it was the United States leaking of information about a ‘turned’ spy in al-Qaeda that caused the British raids to miss some people. Our bad. I’m sure that it was accidental though. Some over-anxious reporter must have done it.”

"BLITZER: Let's talk about some of the people who have been picked up, mostly in Pakistan, over the last few weeks. In mid-July, Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan. There is some suggestion that by releasing his identity here in the United States, you compromised a Pakistani intelligence sting operation, because he was effectively being used by the Pakistanis to try to find other al Qaeda operatives. Is that true?
RICE: Well, I don't know what might have been going on in Pakistan. I will say this, that we did not, of course, publicly disclose his name. One of them...
BLITZER: He was disclosed in Washington on background.
RICE: On background. And the problem is that when you're trying to strike a balance between giving enough information to the public so that they know that you're dealing with a specific, credible, different kind of threat than you've dealt with in the past, you're always weighing that against kind of operational considerations. We've tried to strike a balance. We think for the most part, we've struck a balance, but it's indeed a very difficult balance to strike.
BLITZER: Had he been flipped, in the vernacular, was he cooperating with Pakistani intelligence after he was arrested?
RICE: I don't know the answer to that question, as to whether or not he was cooperating with them."
-CNN Late Edition, August 8, 2004

“Hmm.. information about a spy disclosed on background to reporters. Why does this sound familiar? I’m sure that the fact that that this terror alert happened during the Democratic National Convention was merely coincidence. I mean, if it was deliberately done for mere political gain it would be way, way, way too much like the Valerie Plame case that Karl Rove currently finds himself stuck in. You know.. National security coming secondary to politics. That kind of stuff. They wouldn’t do that with terror alerts though. Those are way too serious.”

"The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level, Ridge now says.
Ridge, who resigned Feb. 1, said Tuesday that he often disagreed with administration officials who wanted to elevate the threat level to orange, or ‘high’ risk of terrorist attack, but was overruled."
-USA Today, May 10, 2005

“By the way, thanks to Americablog for finding the quotes.”


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