Friday, August 06, 2004

Another Asset Burned 

Via Daily Kos: the Valerie Plame case you can at least ascribe to pettiness and malice. Chalk this one up to sheer, institutionalized stupidity:
U.S. officials providing justification for anti-terrorism alerts revealed details about a Pakistani secret agent, and confirmed his name while he was working under cover in a sting operation, Pakistani sources said on Friday.

A Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters [that] Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, who was arrested in Lahore secretly last month, had been actively cooperating with intelligence agents to help catch al Qaeda operatives when his name appeared in U.S. newspapers.

"After his capture he admitted being an al Qaeda member and agreed to send e-mails to his contacts," a Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters. "He sent encoded e-mails and received encoded replies. He's a great hacker and even the U.S. agents said he was a computer whiz."

"He was cooperating with interrogators on Sunday and Monday and sent e-mails on both days," the source said.

The New York Times published a story on Monday saying U.S. officials had disclosed that a man arrested secretly in Pakistan was the source of the bulk of information leading to the security alerts.

The newspaper named him as Khan, although it did not say how it had learned his name. U.S. officials subsequently confirmed the name to other news organizations on Monday morning. None of the reports mentioned that Khan was working under cover at the time, helping to catch al Qaeda suspects.
Recap: Bush administration issues fortuitously-timed terror alert based on info old enough to ride a trike. Bush administration has its priorities questioned in the press. So Bush administration undertakes to establish street cred by naming the undercover source of the intel.

We can only imagine how popular Mr. Khan must be right now. Not to mention his network of contacts, and their friends, and their families.

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