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Captured Al-Qaeda kingpin is case of ‘mistaken identity’
The Sunday Times (online) ^ | May 08, 2005 | Christina Lamb and Mohammad Shehzad Islamabad

Posted on 05/07/2005 5:33:01 PM PDT by Gondring

THE capture of a supposed Al-Qaeda kingpin by Pakistani agents last week was hailed by President George W Bush as “a critical victory in the war on terror”. According to European intelligence experts, however, Abu Faraj al-Libbi was not the terrorists’ third in command, as claimed, but a middle-ranker derided by one source as “among the flotsam and jetsam” of the organisation.

Al-Libbi’s arrest in Pakistan, announced last Wednesday, was described in the United States as “a major breakthrough” in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

Bush called him a “top general” and “a major facilitator and chief planner for the Al- Qaeda network”. Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, said he was “a very important figure”. Yet the backslapping in Washington and Islamabad has astonished European terrorism experts, who point out that the Libyan was neither on the FBI’s most wanted list, nor on that of the State Department “rewards for justice” programme.

Another Libyan is on the FBI list — Anas al-Liby, who is wanted over the 1998 East African embassy bombings — and some believe the Americans may have initially confused the two. When The Sunday Times contacted a senior FBI counter-terrorism official for information about the importance of the detained man, he sent material on al-Liby, the wrong man.

“Al-Libbi is just a ‘middle-level’ leader,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, a French intelligence investigator and leading expert on terrorism finance. “Pakistan and US authorities have completely overestimated his role and importance. He was never more than a regional facilitator between Al-Qaeda and local Pakistani Islamic groups.”

According to Brisard, the arrested man lacks the global reach of Al-Qaeda leaders such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden’s number two, Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, or Anas al-Liby.

Although British intelligence has evidence of telephone calls between al-Libbi and operatives in the UK, he is not believed to be Al-Qaeda’s commander of operations in Europe, as reported.

The only operations in which he is known to have been involved are two attempts to assassinate Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president, in 2003. Last year he was named Pakistan’s most wanted man with a $350,000 (£185,000) price on his head.

No European or American intelligence expert contacted last week had heard of al-Libbi until a Pakistani intelligence report last year claimed he had taken over as head of operations after Khalid Shaikh Mohammad’s arrest. A former close associate of Bin Laden now living in London laughed: “What I remember of him is he used to make the coffee and do the photocopying.”

What is known is that al-Libbi moved from Libya to Pakistan in the mid-1980s before joining the jihad in Afghanistan. He married a Pakistani woman and is said to specialise in maps and diagrams. He is thought to have joined Bin Laden in Sudan with other Libyan nationals in about 1992 and to have become Al-Qaeda’s co-ordinator with home-grown Pakistani terrorist groups after 9/11.

Some believe al-Libbi’s significance has been cynically hyped by two countries that want to distract attention from their lack of progress in capturing Bin Laden, who has now been on the run for almost four years.

Even a senior FBI official admitted that al-Libbi’s “influence and position have been overstated”. But this weekend the Pakistani government was sticking to the line that al-Libbi was the third most important person in the Al-Qaeda network.

One American official tried to explain the absence of al-Libbi’s name on the wanted list by saying: “We did not want him to know he was wanted.”

Whatever his importance, al-Libbi is the sixth Al-Qaeda figure to have been caught in Pakistan, suggesting that the country is now the organisation’s centre of operations. The interior minister, Aftab Khan Sherpao, conceded that Bin Laden and his deputy might be hiding in a Pakistani city.

“But the capture of al-Libbi will have made them very apprehensive. Whether big fry or small fry, they’re on the run, I can tell you that.”


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1998; 1998usemassybombings; 2003; abufarajallibbi; allibbi; allibby; alliby; alqaeda; alqaedapakistan; anasalliby; assassinationplots; binladen; brisard; captured; enemypropaganda; globaljihad; ifg; jeancharlesbrisard; libya; obl; oblraid; pakistan; southasia; usembassyplots
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Possibilities already discussed on FR... See, for example, USF's comments at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1391330/posts?page=421#421
1 posted on 05/07/2005 5:33:01 PM PDT by Gondring
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To: Gondring

Ooopppsss!


2 posted on 05/07/2005 5:35:00 PM PDT by mlc9852
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To: Gondring
One American official tried to explain the absence of al-Libbi’s name on the wanted list by saying: “We did not want him to know he was wanted.”

LOL

3 posted on 05/07/2005 5:36:12 PM PDT by Dubya (Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but by me)
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To: USF; jan in Colorado; RS; ariamne; Fred Nerks; Former Dodger; AmericanArchConservative; ...
Ping about http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1391330/posts?page=407#407
4 posted on 05/07/2005 5:36:49 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Dubya

Yeah, that's Clintonesque, ain't it!?


5 posted on 05/07/2005 5:38:14 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Gondring

Yeah, whatever, execute him--NEXT!


6 posted on 05/07/2005 6:10:06 PM PDT by brushcop (Remember SFC David Salie, a gentle giant of a man KIA (2-14-05) Iraq fighting for their liberty.)
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To: Gondring

HOW IN THE HELL did we foul this up. It's one thing to think you have the wrong guy then figure it out but a whole other to ANNOUNCE IT TO THE WORLD AND LOOK LIKE IDIOTS. This makes the admin. look like the 3 stooges which I hope they are not.

It's also rediculious that it was announced to the world so shortly after the arrest that they didn't have time to figure it out. It's far better to get the ducks in a row and then announce it so that you scare the other terrorists into moving. Doesn't look like it was done here. Some political person probably wanted to rush the announcement just like they did with the cooperating computer guy in Pakistan which led to us missing other targets.


7 posted on 05/07/2005 6:12:12 PM PDT by OneTimeLurker
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To: Gondring

Not just Clintonesque unfortunatley. They also blew the lid on the Pakistani Al Qaeda computer guy who was cooperating in sting operations leading to everybody who was still talking to the guy to be tipped off.


8 posted on 05/07/2005 6:13:38 PM PDT by OneTimeLurker
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To: OneTimeLurker
As I said on the other thread, even NPR sounded confused but surprisingly fair that Bush downplayed it so. I wonder if the higher-ups realized that this wasn't the same dude, but didn't want to squash the good press.

I have to give USF credit, though... I was confused and wondering if this was a mixup with the guy on the wanted list, but figured it just couldn't be...til USF expressed the same misgivings.

9 posted on 05/07/2005 6:15:43 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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I will have to say the jury is still out on this capture. This subject did have a notebook on him which he was reportedly trying desperately to destroy when he was taken into custody. He was also reportedly very agitated, and not expecting to be taken at all.

I remember clearly at the outset of the W.O.T. that President Bush statedthat from time to time there would be deliberately misleading information regarding the status of captured enemies, type and location of operations, and many other things.

I'm going to stay out on the same limb I have been on since just after 9/11 - believing that Bush was and is a man of actions, not just words, and that much of what he sketched out is actively being practised. Sun Tzu in his book "The Art of War" extolled the virtue and value of well calculated deceptions in gaining the upper hand in war.

Things like the plywood "tank" mock-ups strategically left where Nazi intel could see them in Northern Great Britain, and assume they knew the Allied plans was an invaluable ruse in the final days prior to the Allied "D-day" invasion, is just on modern example of that art.

I am in favor of sitting back, waiting, and letting the military, intel, and political leaders in charge continue to run that aspect of things as they have - allowing that they have adjusted on the fly.

A.A.C.


10 posted on 05/07/2005 6:16:24 PM PDT by AmericanArchConservative (Armour on, Lances high, Swords out, Bows drawn, Shields front ... Eagles UP!)
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To: Gondring

How reliable is This story?


11 posted on 05/07/2005 6:17:23 PM PDT by woofie (I am so not kidding.)
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To: Gondring

"I wonder if the higher-ups realized that this wasn't the same dude, but didn't want to squash the good press. "

Absolutley no way. They had the President come out to praise this. If they knew no way he would have made a statement. It makes him look like a fool.


12 posted on 05/07/2005 6:19:19 PM PDT by OneTimeLurker
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To: AmericanArchConservative

I am anxious to check out the other threads linked above, but you made a terrific post here......


13 posted on 05/07/2005 6:20:35 PM PDT by Radix (A Tag Line this clever ought to be noticed.)
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To: OneTimeLurker

Well, Pakistan had a personal interest in taking down this guy, and with all the heat that's been flowing in claiming that they aren't helping us enough, I'm sure it was tempting to just ride this wave...and it would be tough to speak out and say, "the Pakistanis are wrong...this guy isn't that important"...

But the wanted list comment was just plain ludicrous.


14 posted on 05/07/2005 6:20:44 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: AmericanArchConservative
I'm going to stay out on the same limb I have been on since just after 9/11 - believing that Bush was and is a man of actions, not just words, and that much of what he sketched out is actively being practised.

I agree with you, AAC.

15 posted on 05/07/2005 6:21:44 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Gondring

Oh gosh, Gondring.

Your thread shames us.

We will now go and commit mass suicide because The Times says the perp was only a mid-level operative.

What exactly is it about this article has put you into a state of hysterical finger-pinging?

Some French guy has tried to do a number on the Bush Administration and you are jumping for joy?

Some perspective is needed here, don't you think?



16 posted on 05/07/2005 6:22:40 PM PDT by Bennett46 (Please pray for TexasCowboy)
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To: Gondring
It amazes me what connection the author of this article has to the al-Qaeda organization to determine so much information.
17 posted on 05/07/2005 6:23:08 PM PDT by Logical me (Oh, well!!!)
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To: woofie

Well, you can look into the profiles of the two men, and I checked them out immediately after the capture announcement, before this "mistaken identity" story came out, so it's true that he wasn't on the wanted list even.

You'll also hear stories on FR that contradict the reports in the media, such as "he was singing like a birdie" versus "he didn't say anything--even truth serum hasn't revealed anything"....so I do take it all with a grain of salt.


18 posted on 05/07/2005 6:24:11 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Gondring

>>>>According to European intelligence experts, however, Abu Faraj al-Libbi was not the terrorists’ third in command, as claimed, but a middle-ranker derided by one source as “among the flotsam and jetsam” of the organisation.

That is it. No one knows what they are doing. Pack up and come home. This now stopped terrorist had the wrong rank.

All should bow their heads in shame!


::feeling a bit sarcastic this evening::


19 posted on 05/07/2005 6:24:20 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: woofie
Christina Lamb is one of the most intrepid journalists I have ever known. She has been kicked out of Pakistan a couple of times for reporting on terrorist connections to Pakistani security forces. Once she hid herself between dead bodies in an ambulance to get to the Afghan war front during the Soviet invasion.

Mohammed Shehzad is the premier Pakistani reporter on jihadist groups. My firm and many think-tanks and security firm dealing with South Asia in Washington and in the West pay this guy mucho dinero to get weekly/monthly customized updates on jihadist activity in Pakistan and Al Qaeda related tidbits.

Quite credible IMHO.

20 posted on 05/07/2005 6:28:42 PM PDT by Saberwielder
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To: Bennett46

Perhaps it was the fact that USF and I had both figured this out days before much of the rest of the world...? Ever condider that? Why does posting a story mean a person has to agree with it? Why would hiding a goof be a good thing to do? If it's a real error, let's own up and move on, not cover it up in a--again--Clintonesque fashion.

This is a nice victory...we got someone who is a slimeball and might also have information... but the fact is, it shows how difficult this WoT is... and how easily the governments and media mix things up.


21 posted on 05/07/2005 6:29:44 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Gondring

My God Man. He is an AQ operative! He is captured. What is the difference if he was qualified to receive a Xmas bonus?


22 posted on 05/07/2005 6:31:31 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Calpernia
My God Man. He is an AQ operative! He is captured. What is the difference if he was qualified to receive a Xmas bonus?

Because it goes to our credibility, the progress or lack thereof, and the competence of those conducting the WoT. I think President Bush maintained credibility, in my eyes, by not whooping this up as much as others...it was a victory, but he didn't overplay it, IMHO.

23 posted on 05/07/2005 6:34:27 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Gondring; Calpernia; Saberwielder; Logical me; Bennett46; USF; OneTimeLurker; ...
Meanwhile we are letting the big fish get off easy and in many cases even helping them to get off.

Here are the real details regarding the Abu Bakar trial and how it got screwed up.

An American Expat in Southeast Asia

24 posted on 05/07/2005 6:38:35 PM PDT by expatguy (http://laotze.blogspot.com/)
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To: woofie

The way things are going, soon ANY person will be a higher up in the terrorist movement.


25 posted on 05/07/2005 6:41:10 PM PDT by Loud Mime (Liberals are all heart, they care for everybody they care for and hate the rest.)
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To: expatguy; Fred Nerks
Here are the real details regarding the Abu Bakar trial and how it got screwed up

Ah yes...involving Fred Burks, not to be confused with our very own Fred Nerks!

26 posted on 05/07/2005 6:42:35 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Gondring
“Al-Libbi is just a ‘middle-level’ leader,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, a French intelligence investigator..."
27 posted on 05/07/2005 6:43:54 PM PDT by jimbo123
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To: Gondring

Pep rallies are needed to rally the masses. I don't see this as a egg in face. What one tribe thinks of the others ranking is pure politics.


28 posted on 05/07/2005 6:44:28 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Gondring

Are you French?


29 posted on 05/07/2005 6:44:50 PM PDT by jimbo123
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To: Loud Mime

LOL ...I had to read your post a few times,

somehow in the long run using suicide as a weapon doesnt seem like a great military stategy


30 posted on 05/07/2005 6:45:34 PM PDT by woofie (I am so not kidding.)
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To: Calpernia
What one tribe thinks of the others ranking is pure politics.

Well, next time, why don't we put the person on our most wanted list if we want the political gain.

Or just admit that we screwed up and got a lesser fish than was claimed, but a fish nonetheless.

31 posted on 05/07/2005 6:46:26 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Gondring
Was Burks ever even mentioned in the US media?
32 posted on 05/07/2005 6:46:36 PM PDT by expatguy (http://laotze.blogspot.com/)
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To: Bennett46
Mohammad Shehzad Islamabad of the Times quotes a French "intelligence expert" and says it's a debacle. Funny how so many on this thread rush to savor the sour grapes spewed by the Muzzie and the Frog in this article.
33 posted on 05/07/2005 6:51:10 PM PDT by jimbo123
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To: jimbo123
Norman descent is about as close to French as I can find (and that line traveled across the channel in A.D. 1066).

Which is probably why I got kicked out of French class for making a poster of History of the French Flag that included the white flag and the German flag at various times. :-)



" . . . you know frankly, going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. You just leave a lot of useless noisy baggage behind." --Jed Babbin

34 posted on 05/07/2005 6:52:19 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: AmericanArchConservative
I remember clearly at the outset of the W.O.T. that President Bush statedthat from time to time there would be deliberately misleading information regarding the status of captured enemies, type and location of operations, and many other things.

Exactly. Otherwise, this is a goofup of 16-words-in-the-2003-SOTU-Address proportions. And the media is, of course, always at the ready to assist in publicizing supposed Intelligence errors.

35 posted on 05/07/2005 6:52:42 PM PDT by arasina (So there.)
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To: arasina

If Mohammad Shehzad Islamabad of the Times says it's a goofup, then I sure as heck trust it's a goofup.


36 posted on 05/07/2005 6:54:38 PM PDT by jimbo123
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To: AmericanArchConservative
"This subject did have a notebook on him which he was reportedly trying desperately to destroy when he was taken into custody."

I posted to you earlier, but I was looking for the article again, and the link is not working.

Did the article mention a notebook, or do you have another link for the story which includes that aspect?

37 posted on 05/07/2005 7:04:32 PM PDT by Radix (A Tag Line this clever ought to be noticed.)
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To: Gondring
One American official tried to explain the absence of al-Libbi’s name on the wanted list by saying: “We did not want him to know he was wanted.”

Oh, a quote from an unnamed source. And it's the punch line of the entire article.

I'll be sure to give it the appropriate consideration.

38 posted on 05/07/2005 7:09:40 PM PDT by FreeReign
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To: Gondring
I personally don't care, they captured this nut and have been arresting more just like him since then. If I had to believe the Pakistanis who are dealing with these guys everyday and a Frenchman, I'll go with the Pakis.
39 posted on 05/07/2005 7:10:09 PM PDT by Americanexpat (A strong democracy through citizen oversight.)
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To: Gondring

>>>> Well, next time, why don't we put the person on our most wanted list if we want the political gain.

Cause WE might not want THEM to know what WE know? ie surveilance?

>>> Or just admit that we screwed up and got a lesser fish than was claimed, but a fish nonetheless.

An AQ Operative was captured. That is not being disputed. His rank is. Most likely from tribal infighting of who now is in charge. A fish is a fish. I say lets have fish and chips!

You bring the vinegar. I'll bring the kraut.


40 posted on 05/07/2005 7:11:11 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Gondring

Wanted

Anas Al-Liby

Up to $5 Million Reward

Aliases: Anas Al-Sabai, Anas Al-Libi, Nazih Al-Raghie, Nazih Abdul Hamed Al-Raghie Anas Al-Liby recently lived in the United Kingdom, where he has political asylum. He is believed to currently be in Afghanistan. Speaks Arabic and English. Indicted for: conspiracy to kill United States nationals, to murder, to destroy buildings and property of the United States, and to destroy National Defense utilities of the United States.

41 posted on 05/07/2005 7:20:37 PM PDT by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: Calpernia

I'll drink to that!


42 posted on 05/07/2005 7:23:22 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Radix
Senior Al Qaeda Leader's Notebook Seized ABC News
43 posted on 05/07/2005 7:24:56 PM PDT by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: Gondring
Cheers!


44 posted on 05/07/2005 7:26:11 PM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: woofie

---somehow in the long run using suicide as a weapon doesnt seem like a great military stategy---

You remind me of the old Cheech and Chong bit about the Kamikaze pilots....."Honorable General Sir, you out of you Fu***ing mind!"


45 posted on 05/07/2005 7:27:01 PM PDT by Loud Mime (Liberals are all heart, they care for everybody they care for and hate the rest.)
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To: TexKat; Radix

Other links here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Faraj_al-Libbi


46 posted on 05/07/2005 7:28:41 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Gondring

This is a typical eurotrash story. There are two guys with similar names. The one recently captured really is a big shot, but was not on the FBI list because that list first requires an indictment.

In this case, the ISI and CIA know what they have. We can only hope he sings.


47 posted on 05/07/2005 7:28:50 PM PDT by gleneagle
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To: jimbo123
If Mohammad Shehzad Islamabad of the Times says it's a goofup, then I sure as heck trust it's a goofup.

Yeah, same here. LOL

48 posted on 05/07/2005 7:31:08 PM PDT by arasina (So there.)
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To: TexKat
Right.. this is NOT the one who was captured...



The terrorist who was captured has a skin disorder, evidently, and was quite distinctive:


49 posted on 05/07/2005 7:35:22 PM PDT by Gondring (Pretend you don't know me...I'm in the WPPFF.)
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To: Gondring

Abu Faraj al-Libbi

Anas Al-Liby

50 posted on 05/07/2005 7:36:34 PM PDT by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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