RealNews

Mastermind of Evil May Yield bin Laden's Secrets

Capturing al-Qaeda’s operations chief may lead to even bigger scalps, and prevent planned terrorist strikes. Of all the milestones in the Bush Administration’s 18-month campaign against terrorism, the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, possibly the most fearsome of Osama bin Laden’s chief lieutenants, came at a critical juncture. President Bush’s critics have been complaining that his focus on Saddam Hussein had distracted the nation from the war against al-Qaeda. The steady movement towards a war in Iraq had only seemed to escalate the risk of another terrorist attack. But Mohammed’s arrest was a heavy blow to al-Qaeda and good news for the US when that had been a scarce commodity. Intelligence officials say Mohammed had been a serious threat to the US. Some suspect his terrorist actions began with the World Trade Centre bombing in 1993, and his planning for further operations continued after the September 2001 attacks – and after the military smashed al-Qaeda’s operations base in Afghanistan last year. Since then, the officials say, Mohammed has tried to place al-Qaeda operatives in the US and he was behind an effort by an al-Qaeda recruit, Jose Padilla, to begin work on a bomb that uses conventional explosives to spew radioactive material in the air. Padilla was arrested in May 2002. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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