Friday, August 11, 2006

Pakistan's assistance was critical in foiling UK airliner bombing plot

Pakistan's a bit AC/DC when it comes to helping with the GWOT, but they came up big for the US and UK in yesterday's arrests.

Times Online - Pakistan said today that its security forces had arrested a "key person" in the alleged transatlantic terror plot, who is the brother of one of the 24 men held by police in a dramatic dawn swoop in the UK yesterday.

Rashid Rauf was arrested in the Punjab on Wednesday, hours before the simultaneous raids in Birmingham, Buckinghamshire and London that brought Britain’s airports to a standstill yesterday.

Among the two men arrested in Birmingham was Tayib Rauf, Mr Rauf’s brother.

In total, Pakistani security forces arrested seven people, including at least two British nationals, thought to be connected with the alleged plot to blow up US passenger jets heading from Britain to the United States.

Pakistan collaborated with MI5 for several months and one of the factors that led to the arrests yesterday was the wiring of a large amount of money from Pakistan to the cell's ringleaders in Britain so they could purchase their airline tickets for the dry run then for the actual attack a couple days later.

In their search of the residences of the individuals arrested, British agents reportedly found a "martyrdom" video as well as tickets on United Airlines.

Obviously surveillance played a critical role. Must be nice to be able to use security measures that would, say, monitor the international phone calls made by the suspects or possibly tracking their financial transactions. If only our national security agents had such tools at their disposal... (end sarcasm) Those NSA programs are ESSENTIAL to our national security.

UPDATE @ 4:20pm: Ace brings to light the indirect connection between between the wouldbe London bombers and none other than Saddam Hussein. But as Ace points out "that's just crazy talk, because we know for a fact Saddam Hussein had absolutely nothing to do with terrorism (apart from inviting Al Qaeda to Iraq for sanctuary when it was forced to depart the Sudan, and apart from putting up Abu Nidal in Baghdad, and etc.)."

He took the words right out of my mouth.

For a Saddam-terrorism recap, see my previous post, the Iraq-al Qaeda connection.

UPDATE @ 4:30pm: The WaPo now puts the number arrested by Pakistani forces at 17. They just didn't want the first 7 they arrested to get lonely...