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Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

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Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

Old 08-10-04, 12:53 PM
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Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

An al-Qaida computer expert who was secretly arrested on July 18 and has since been providing critical intelligence on the terror group's plans for coming attacks on the West was rendered useless this week when he was outed by the New York Times.

Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, described by U.S. intelligence as "a one-man al-Qaida communications hub," was using the Internet to contact and identify al-Qaida operatives throughout the world so they could be tracked and arrested by British and U.S. authorities.

"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."

Khan was the source for reports that al-Qaida was planning attacks on financial institutions in New York, Newark and Washington, D.C., spurring Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge to raise the national alert status to orange last Sunday.

But the undercover operative's value as a critical intelligence asset went up in smoke on Monday when the New York Times named the previously unidentified Khan, calling him "a kind of clearinghouse of Qaida communications" and "a vital source of information" on terrorist operations.

Once Khan was outed, British authorities scrambled to round up al-Qaida suspects he had identified before they were able to go underground.

"By exposing the only deep mole we've ever had within al-Qaida, it ruined the chance to capture dozens if not hundreds more," former Justice Department prosecutor John Loftus told Fox News on Saturday.
Link

I heard about the leak on ABC World News Tonight last night, but they didn't make mention of where the leak came from. Whether the Times is behind the leak or not, seems like a golden opportunity to find out a lot more about the inner workings of al-Qaida (Qaeda?) has been lost.
Old 08-10-04, 01:12 PM
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Also shocking is that Khan was once married to Joe Wilson.

Anyway, what a truly awful move.
Old 08-10-04, 01:18 PM
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Re: Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

Originally posted by Chew
Whether the Times is behind the leak or not, seems like a golden opportunity to find out a lot more about the inner workings of al-Qaida (Qaeda?) has been lost.
Huh? The Times can't leak things. It's a news paper. Someone in government leaked the information to the Times.
Old 08-10-04, 01:23 PM
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http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.j...toryID=5901470

Pakistan Qaeda Suspect Named During Email Sting

By Simon Cameron-Moore and Peter Graff
ISLAMABAD/LONDON (Reuters) - 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 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.

President Bush defended the "orange alert" raised in New York and Washington on Sunday and said his government had an obligation to inform the public of genuine threats.

"When we find out intelligence that is real, that threatens people, I believe we have an obligation as government to share that with people," Bush told journalists.

BRITISH SWOOP

A U.S. official said on Friday one of 12 suspects caught in raids in Britain this week was a senior al Qaeda figure, and Washington would try to extradite him.

But British police said they had been forced to carry out their swoop more hastily than planned -- a day after Khan's name appeared in the New York Times as the source of information behind the U.S. alerts.

On Monday evening, after Khan's name appeared, Pakistani officials moved him to a secret location. The next day British police mounted the sweep that caught the 12 suspects. Such raids are normally carried out late at night or in the early morning, when suspects might be at home and less likely to resist.

But showing clear signs of haste, British police pounced in daylight. Some suspects were taken in shops; others were caught in a high-speed car chase.

A British anti-terrorism police source would not comment on the reason for their quick action, but confirmed the raids were carried out faster than planned: "It would be a fair assessment to say there was an urgency. Something can happen that prompts us to take action faster than we would," he told Reuters.

A U.S. counterterrorism official told Reuters on Friday that one of the 12 British detainees, known as Abu Musa al-Hindi or Abu Eisa al-Hindi, was a key al Qaeda operative in Britain: "This arrest is a big one."

WASHINGTON TO SEEK EXTRADITION

He said Hindi was centrally involved in an effort to case possible targets in the United States for al Qaeda attacks, and said Washington would seek to extradite him.

Britain has yet to identify or charge any of the suspects or confirm whether Hindi is among them.

Intelligence and security experts said they were surprised Washington would reveal information that could expose the name of a source during an ongoing law enforcement operation.

"If it's true that the Americans have unintentionally revealed the identity of another nation's intelligence agent, who appears to be working in the good of all of us, that is not only a fundamental intelligence flaw its also a monumental foreign relations blunder," security expert Paul Beaver, a former publisher of Jane's Defense Weekly, told Reuters.

Kevin Rosser, security expert at the London-based consultancy Control Risks Group, said such a disclosure was a risk that came with staging public alerts, but that authorities were meant to take special care not to ruin ongoing operations.

"When these public announcements are made they have to be supported with some evidence, and in addition to creating public anxiety and fatigue you can risk revealing sources and methods of sensitive operations," he said.

In a separate case, British police have arrested Londoner Babar Ahmad under a U.S. warrant alleging that he helped fund militants in Afghanistan and Chechnya. At his first court appearance on Friday Ahmed said he would fight extradition.
Old 08-10-04, 01:25 PM
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Re: Re: Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

Originally posted by Captain Pike
Huh? The Times can't leak things. It's a news paper. Someone in government leaked the information to the Times.
How much common sense does it take to NOT print obviously vital information like that?
Old 08-10-04, 01:27 PM
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Now Jason, NEWSMAX said it was the NY Times. Don't question NEWSMAX.
Old 08-10-04, 01:29 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
"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"
I think the line immediately following your bold provides a bit more of a clue. The Times says US Government officials released the information that a man was arrested. But, the name is something the Times hasn't revealed where it got that information from, yes?
Old 08-10-04, 01:31 PM
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Re: Re: Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

Originally posted by Captain Pike
Huh? The Times can't leak things. It's a news paper. Someone in government leaked the information to the Times.
Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. There have been a lot of rediculous leaks the past couple years too.

I'm all for the people knowing the truth, but there are some things that need to remain secret, at least for a time, in the interest of our nation's security.


The "gotta get it now" aspect of breaking news is like a plague right now. All news should be at least 2 days old, reviewed and edited by our government and then released as needed and phrased in a manner to inspire a sense of nationalism and- oh nevermind.

This sort of thing makes me mad though.
Old 08-10-04, 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by Chew
But, the name is something the Times hasn't revealed where it got that information from, yes?
Well, they got it from someone unless the times is extracting terrorists these days.

They could have worked over a pakistani official or something I guess.
Old 08-10-04, 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by Tsar Chasm
Now Jason, NEWSMAX said it was the NY Times. Don't question NEWSMAX.
If NEWSMAX told me the sky was blue, I would still want to check before I believed them.

That said, the Reuters article lays out the following timeline:
1. NY Times prints Khan's name
2. U.S. officials confirm Times story.

The real questions are 1) Where did the NY Times get Khan's name, and 2) Was the NY Times aware of Khan's role in our ongoing intelligence work when they went to press with his name?
Old 08-10-04, 01:36 PM
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New York Times Blow, all four words in a sentence???

Last edited by Myster X; 08-10-04 at 01:49 PM.
Old 08-10-04, 01:41 PM
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Originally posted by Myster X
New York Times Blow, all three words in a sentence???
"New York Times Blow" is four words.
Old 08-10-04, 01:44 PM
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Old 08-10-04, 01:45 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

Originally posted by Breakfast with Girls
How much common sense does it take to NOT print obviously vital information like that?
How much common sense does it take to NOT leak something like that?

When leaks like this happen it's very clear to the person leaking the information that it's going to be published. Trying to place the blame on the paper that prints the information is bogus.
Old 08-10-04, 01:48 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
"New York Times Blow" is four words.
Old 08-10-04, 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
"New York Times Blow" is four words.

oops.....
Old 08-10-04, 02:35 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

Originally posted by Breakfast with Girls
How much common sense does it take to NOT print obviously vital information like that?
I'd have to agree with that. Similar to Novak "outing" Plame.
Old 08-10-04, 02:45 PM
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KHAAAAN!!!!
Old 08-10-04, 02:50 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

Originally posted by Captain Pike
How much common sense does it take to NOT leak something like that?

When leaks like this happen it's very clear to the person leaking the information that it's going to be published. Trying to place the blame on the paper that prints the information is bogus.
I knew someone was going to post something silly like that. Every person in the chain is equally responsible for not releasing that information. Just because their source released the information doesn't give them the right to.

Around and around the buck goes. Where it stops, no one knows...
Old 08-10-04, 02:53 PM
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Originally posted by kvrdave


KHAAAAN!!!!
I was wondering how many posts it would take...
Old 08-10-04, 03:04 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

Originally posted by Breakfast with Girls
I knew someone was going to post something silly like that. Every person in the chain is equally responsible for not releasing that information. Just because their source released the information doesn't give them the right to.

Around and around the buck goes. Where it stops, no one knows...
Does the word "accountability" mean anything anymore?

If you tell a reporter something, how can you not expect it to end up in print? If you want something to remain a secret, keep your mouth shut.

This is not a case of "around and around the buck goes..." This little tidbit of information had a source and that source let the information out. The source is completely accountable for the release. The same thing goes for the CIA operative. Someone told Novak something they had no business divulging. If this administration is serious about the "harm" presented in these two cases, heads should roll.

Quit blaming the media for reporting information.
Old 08-10-04, 03:35 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

Originally posted by Breakfast with Girls
I knew someone was going to post something silly like that. Every person in the chain is equally responsible for not releasing that information. Just because their source released the information doesn't give them the right to.

Around and around the buck goes. Where it stops, no one knows...

You're saying that the New York Times is equally responsible for protecting security as the federal government is? Give me a break. The Times isn't in a position to say what information is potentially damaging to national security, the government is. Within reasonable limits the editorial staff can make some judgment calls on that but the bottom line is that they'll print it if it's news. It's up to the government to make sure that sensitive information doesn't get leaked in the first place, not The Times to determine what leaks should be printed and what leaks shouldn't.
Old 08-10-04, 03:40 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Did N.Y. Times Blow Cover of Key Counterterror Agent?

Originally posted by Tsar Chasm
Does the word "accountability" mean anything anymore?

If you tell a reporter something, how can you not expect it to end up in print? If you want something to remain a secret, keep your mouth shut.

This is not a case of "around and around the buck goes..." This little tidbit of information had a source and that source let the information out. The source is completely accountable for the release. The same thing goes for the CIA operative. Someone told Novak something they had no business divulging. If this administration is serious about the "harm" presented in these two cases, heads should roll.

Quit blaming the media for reporting information.
I agree. You tell a R E P O R T E R something and guess what? He's going to REPORT it. I know it's a difficult concept to grasp but there it is. The way some apologists talk about these leaks you'd think that the information just slipped out accidently, when the reality is that the information was given to the press purposefully with the expectation on the part of the leaker that it would be printed. The responsibility rests on the sholders of the person who talked to the press, not on the publication that printed it.
Old 08-10-04, 03:54 PM
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Just because you can print something, does not mean you should. Issues of National Security and Criminal investigations come to mind.
Old 08-10-04, 04:28 PM
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But mention an FBI agent's name that is also on her husband's web site, and you have a whole different crowd defending it.

Because it isn't just partisanship.

The fact is, this is a blow to intelligence. Doesn't matter who you defend.

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