Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 29, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

MORE ON THE DNC SURPRISE....The al-Qaeda fugitive who was captured in Pakistan a few days ago is named Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani and was involved in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. Here's more about his capture:

Another U.S. counterterrorism official said Ghailani's capture would have been even more significant if not publicized so quickly.

"He's been on the run since 1998 so you have five years of critical intelligence that can be mined: where he has been, who he has been with, how his operations worked," said the counterterrorism official.

"Now, anything that he was involved in is being shredded, burned and, thrown in a river. Those things are all going away as we speak," the official added. "We have to assume anyone affiliated with this guy is on the run . . . when usually, we can get great stuff as long as we can keep it quiet."

Several U.S. officials said it was unclear why Pakistan publicized the arrest....

See the previous post for the answer that seems to have eluded "several U.S. officials."

UPDATE: In fairness, here's the Washington Post's take on the timing of the announcement:

Pakistani officials have rejected allegations that they delayed the announcement for four days to obtain maximum publicity. Hayat said the delay was a result of "double checks and even triple checks in such cases."

But in the arrests of other high-profile al Qaeda targets in Pakistan, including Abu Zubayida, Khalid Sheik Mohammad and Ramzi Bin al Shibh, the news media received word almost immediately.

So was the announcement delayed too long or made too soon? Stay tuned.

Kevin Drum 11:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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