The classic defense of our involvement in Afghanistan is that we need to make sure that Afghanistan never again becomes a sanctuary for al-Qaeda or other enemies of the United States. Ungoverned spaces attract terrorists, especially when they re in bad neighborhoods.
Iraqi security forces and U.S. troops killed Al Qaeda's top two leaders in Iraq Monday in what the U.S. military described as a "potentially devastating blow" to the militant group. Al Qaeda's Iraq leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the head of its local affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq, were found dead iinside a house after it was stormed by troops.
We haven't followed up on the story involving the Qatari diplomat who touched off a serious bomb scare this week on a United Airlines flight from Washington to Denver. The diplomat touched off the bomb scare by smoking a pipe in the plane's bathroom. When asked about the smell of smoke, he asserted that he had been trying to light his shoes, alluding to shoe bomber Richard Reid. He refused to turn over his lighter to the attendant questioning him about the smell of smoke and was apprehended by Federal Air Marshals on board the flight. The diplomat's name is Mohammed al-Madadi. Someone's rules of profiling might place a premium on passengers whose first or last name are a variant of Muhammad, but federal authorities are undoubtedly more enlightened. The Washington Post nevertheless conveys the concerns of Arab and Muslim diplomats. The Post reports the thought of "many" Arab and Muslim diplomats "that profiling was involved, and that the situation would not have gone so far if Madadi were not Arab." A Swede, they say, would have been given a pass (despite, one hastens to add, the Swedes' well-known association with air terrorism). Madadi's mission is also worthy of note. Madadi was going to meet Ali Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar who is serving eight years in prison after pleading guilty last year to conspiring to support terrorism. Fox News assures us that such diplomatic visits are routine. Fox News also describes Al-Marri as an imprisoned al Qaeda agent. How many of these guys do we have incarcerated in the United States? What countries are they from? Are diplomats from these countries in fact routinely meeting with them? I'd like to see the support for the proposition that they are. I should think that might make a good story by itself. Perhaps the
A team of CIA counterintelligence officials recently visited the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and concluded that CIA interrogators face the risk of exposure to al Qaeda through inmates' contacts with defense attorneys, the Washington Times reported March 31. U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald is part of a joint investigation over whether CIA officers' lives were put in danger at the prison.