Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Underbelly of the Foiled UK Terror Plot

MSNBC has the scoop.

There are so many little threads in this piece its hard to no where to begin.

The piece starts with an anonymous "senior British official knowledgeable about the case" (backed up further down by an anonymous "U.S. official") stating that the U.S. pressured the UK to foil the plot earlier than the UK desired. I don't see a big significance here as it seems to be the result of a more cautious US versus a UK seeking to gain more evidence. It does, however, undercut the spin that the attack was imminent.

Thursday morning, when I first heard of the UK arrests, I was left with the impression that suspects with liquid explosives were apprehended shortly before boarding airlines. It was 9/11 being stopped at 6:00 am. By noon that day, I heard there were, in fact, no liquid explosives.

Next, we started hearing about "dry runs" in the plural.

The MSNBC story now notes:

In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.

The source did say, however, that police believe one U.K.-based suspect was ready to conduct a "dry run." British authorities had wanted to let him go forward with part of the plan, but the Americans balked.

Hey, I'm glad this thing got knocked down and we should be especially grateful when they're knocked down in their infancy. But why do we constantly have to go through a stream of politically-motivated misrepresentations to get to the actual good story that happened. How are we ever going to be united on confronting the real issue of terrorism when our victories are spun as some proprietary issue belonging solely to the right and not as a true team effort in which we can all rejoice.

Yet, the story does not end there --- hidden in the later part of the piece is a report about the arrest of the believed ringleader of the plot, Rashid Rauf in Pakistan.

We are told:

[The US and UK] also argued over the timing of the arrest of suspected ringleader Rashid Rauf in Pakistan, warning that if he was not taken into custody immediately, the U.S. would "render" him or pressure the Pakistani government to arrest him.

British security was concerned that Rauf be taken into custody "in circumstances where there was due process," according to the official, so that he could be tried in British courts. Ultimately, this official says, Rauf was arrested over the objections of the British.

Jeebus NBC, quit beating around the Bush and cut to the chase. Ask the question. Was the disagreement over the arrest of Rauf about torturing him?


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