Sunday, August 8

Our Idiotic Mis-Administration

Juan Cole has some new info on the Pakistani "mole":
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. (!!!)
Unbelievable if true, and yet another example of an administration whose right hand does'nt know what the left hand is up to. The National Security Advisor, had no Idea that Khan was a double agent, what the hell is she doing. Oh and I should mention that it's nice that the Networks are on the story. Meanwhile the Pakistani's and Brits are pissed. David Blunkett, the British Home secretary says:
For instance, 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.

In Britain the accusation is the opposite. It is that we don't say enough. We don't comment often enough. We don't speculate enough. In other words, we don't sufficiently raise the profile - and therefore the concern - about terrorism.
Its not about politics in England, see, thats why we aren't likely like the dumassed Yanks across the atlantic to out an important source of intelligence. You may want us to but we just arent that stupid. Later he explains his reticence on the subject.
Because had I done so without having anything additional to add, I would have merely added to the speculation, to the hype, to the desire for something to say for its own sake. In other words, to feed the news frenzy in a slack news period.

Is that really the job of a senior cabinet minister in charge of counter-terrorism? To feed the media? To increase concern? To have something to say, whatever it is, in order to satisfy the insatiable desire to hear somebody saying something?

Of course not. This is arrant nonsense. I've never been known as a shrinking violet and I'm the first person to say something when I've got something to say. But 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.
It's amazing that fighting the war on terror in Great Britain is not about covering ones ass or used as a tool for re-election. It is somewhat amazing the legs this story seems to have, Bush may have turned a corner and seen the end of his political carreer. If they loose this one and somehow avoid an uncomfortable stay at the Hague, I doubt the Jackass will be speaking at future republican conventions. Expect moderate republicans to quietly run screaming in the other direction "I'll see you later OK?" "not if I see you first." MSGOP has some Background on Khan:
Keeping the arrest quiet, his captors got him to e-mail his contacts in Pakistan, England and elsewhere.

A senior Pakistani official says the messages have helped bring the arrests of dozens of suspects, including Britain's reputed top Qaeda operative, Esa al-Hindi, and Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, the Tanzanian fugitive who was wanted for the 1998 African embassy bombings. Under duress, says the same source, Khan sent e-mails to at least six contacts in the United States—with results that remain undisclosed.

Returning to Pakistan, Khan set up a small Qaeda communications center. It began as little more than a hobby—until the Taliban's collapse sent bin Laden and his men fleeing for their lives. Suddenly Khan found himself running a network that kept the group's leaders in touch with their agents and each other. Bin Laden and his inner circle couldn't use radios or satphones for fear of revealing their hideouts. Instead, Khan became their nexus between the caves and the Internet cafes.
Now under duress means torture, which means Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani could be telling his torturers whatever they want to know, but if this intelligence is correct, we blew our best shot at getting these guys. Khan may very well have helped lead us to the capture of Bin Laden, but as the jig is up we shall never know, unfuckingbelievable.