Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Worrying story

I've read a bunch of risible conspiracy theories about the London bombings. But I place this following story in the 'plausible cock-up' category. Did a hasty and politically motivated decision during the Democrat convention jeopardise an important British intelligence operation?

Do you remember this story from last year?

Pakistani intelligence officials said the White House had asked them to announce the arrest or killing of any "high-value [al-Qaeda] target" any time between July 26 and 28, the first three days of the Democratic Convention.

It seems a long time ago now, when Kerry was still giving Bush a good fight for the US election. I didn't blog about it myself I don't think, but this story was quite widely discussed on livejournal and elsewhere, particularly when Pakistan actually did announce such an arrest:

In response to White House pressure, the Pakistanis were in fact able to make an arrest, which was announced during the Democratic National Convention. That arrest, of a Tanzanian named Ahmad Khalfan Gheilani, in turn led to the capture of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a young computer expert who had old al-Qaeda documents on his laptop as well as a more recent archive of email correspondence with al-Qaeda in the UK.

But alas, it now appears that Naeem Khan was not a 'terrorist'. He was actually a double-agent working for British intelligence. (He'd been 'turned' and was working undercover for us)

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 name in the media. Of those who were arrested, several had to be released for lack of evidence against them

So the undercover agent was blown, and the suspected terrorists escaped. Some people think that this cell (based in Luton) was behind last Thursday's attack. Naeem Khan's laptop had detailed plans for an attack on the London transport system. Also:

Security officials told 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.

Mohammed Sadiq Khan: father figure inspired young bombers.

Juan Cole from Aug 2004 on the arrest of Khan here, on the London bombing here. Detailed metafilter post with lots of links here. However, nothing on the BBC yet about any of this.
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