March 01, 2003

Very Good News

A piece of very good news: Alleged 9/11 Mastermind Arrested in Pakistan: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was arrested Saturday in Pakistan, a senior official told The Associated Press.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said Mohammed was one of three men arrested in a 3 a.m. raid in Rawalpindi, a city near Islamabad.

A U.S. official said both U.S. and Pakistani agents were involved in the operation.

Mohammed, 37, is one of the FBI's most-wanted terror suspects, and the U.S. government had offered up to $25 million for information leading to his capture.

U.S. officials have described him as a key al Qaeda lieutenant and the organizer of the terror mission that sent hijacked passenger jets crashing into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, killing more than 3,000 people...

Posted by DeLong at March 1, 2003 10:18 PM | TrackBack


This is excellent news. Maybe bin Laden is close by wherever they arrested Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, though. By the way, there is a disturbing NYT picture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian clothes with a shorter beard, and you would never know it's him. Perhaps bin Laden might have such a disguise now. I find it very strange that it has taken us this long, and we still don't have bin Laden. You would think that we would have thrown everything we have at those caves on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and have found him dead or alive (probably dead) already. That is if he's there.

Posted by: Bobby on March 2, 2003 03:22 AM

The photo is at:

Posted by: Bobby on March 2, 2003 03:31 AM

Great! More arrest will surely follow.

Posted by: randall on March 2, 2003 08:27 AM

So is this guy from Iraq?

This story is a bit troubling. Will we ever know if it s true?

The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq.,12239,905936,00.html

Posted by: Bruce Ferguson on March 2, 2003 09:32 AM

What would truly be good news, is if it's the Iraqis who set the guy up. Maybe two birds (OBL and no war) with one stone.

Posted by: Anon on March 2, 2003 12:28 PM

But I thought Bush planned the 9-11 attacks!

Or have I just been reading MWO too frequently?

Posted by: Paul on March 2, 2003 12:54 PM

>The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq.

According to this report in Britain's Independent on Sunday, the US is preparing to use toxic gases in Iraq war:

Btw in a speech to the Chicago Economic Club in April 1999, Tony Blair said: "If we want a world ruled by law and by international co-operation then we have to support the UN as its central pillar." at page 10 on:

But then according to this reported poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans want the United States to wait for UN approval before starting a strike against Iraq:

Posted by: Bob Briant on March 2, 2003 12:59 PM

Far the best victory the US has had in the war against al Qaeda. Imagine how many more such victories they might have if they hadn't thoroughly pissed off the French, German, Turkish, Russian, Pakistani, etc publics by threatening unilateral war on a party which, however nasty, is little real threat to anyone outside Iraq.

Posted by: derrida derider on March 2, 2003 03:24 PM

Allow my to dampen the party a bit. Taken on its face, the arrest is indeed good news. But it is the habit of polic everywhere, whenever the make an arrest, to clear as many cases as they can. This isn't a matter of ideology, it's just bookkeeping. As the list of imputations continues to grow, remember to ask yourself -- are we really sure that Dr. Moriarty went over the Falls?

Posted by: jda on March 2, 2003 05:01 PM

Any bets on how long this guy survives? My memory is vague but I thought some of the Pearl murder suspects were offed before they said very much. ISI is apparently still still a stronghold Qaeda supporters (remember that Al Qaeda was originally started in Pakistan). I hope he lives but my gut is telling me otherwise.

Posted by: Amused Reader on March 2, 2003 07:45 PM

This guy will be handed over to America eventually. He is too big of a fish for the Pakistanis to play games with. How long until America executes him is hard to say.

Posted by: Dan on March 2, 2003 07:56 PM

He's already been handed over and is undoubtedly being grilled and pressured under our most rigorous, but life-preserving regime. He knows everything. Who, where, when, how much. It's hard to overstate the importance of this guy. Operationally he's more significant than bin Laden.

People obviously differ on the Iraq issues, but everybody should agree that getting the people that planned and ran the 9/11 attacks is occasion for more than a few high fives.

Posted by: Dave Roberts on March 2, 2003 08:13 PM

Revealing biographical detail on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in The Guardian at:,12469,906442,00.html The report is by Dr Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside al-Qaida: Global Network of Terror.

Posted by: Bob Briant on March 2, 2003 11:07 PM

Dan & Dave,

You were right. I kind of figured this out when I read a few articles completely. He is apparently already out of the country. I just read this on

"Pakistan held Mohammed 'a few hours' before turning him over to the CIA, which immediately took him out of Pakistan, officials said. Mohammed is in U.S. custody at an undisclosed location, they said. "

Probably some ship in the Indian Ocean.

I wonder if anyone got the $25 million.

Posted by: Amused Reader on March 3, 2003 12:42 AM

Given all the statements that the president and his representatives give that are misleading, later rescinded, or just plain not true, are we supposed to believe that the "mastermind" has been found, or to believe anything else that news reports have said up to this point? Plus, if you apprehend someone in another country and take them to an undisclosed point, shouldn't we at least wonder a little if such a person even exists?

Posted by: Dave on March 3, 2003 05:59 AM

A little digging says the atimes guy is wrong, had the wrong story. The story however changes from the initial report 2002/09/13/ on which he seems to be relying.

KARACHI, Sept 16: Pakistan on Monday handed over key Al Qaeda suspect Ramzi bin Al Shibh and four others to US custody and they have been flown out of the country, a government spokesman said.

Posted by: Bruce Ferguson on March 3, 2003 07:14 AM

Oh I forgot this picture from:

Posted by: Bobby on March 3, 2003 07:17 AM

Khalid still in Pakistan?

OK, I really don't know what to beleive. Maybe I should wait until news is 5 or 6 days old and then to try to figure out what really happened. I saw this on Kyodo News service. If anyone is still reading this thread I would be interested to know where people go for reliable news.
Top bin Laden aide still in Pakistan, spokesman claims
ISLAMABAD March 3 Kyodo - Pakistan continues to hold Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a key aide of Osama bin Laden, and he is being interrogated by a joint investigation team of Pakistani security agencies, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmad Khan said Monday.
But, according to senior government officials who did not want to be identified, Mohammed, who was arrested along with another Arab and a Pakistani national in a raid on a hideout in a suburb in Rawalpindi on Saturday morning, was flown out of Pakistan aboard a U.S. aircraft on Sunday morning.

Posted by: Amused Reader on March 3, 2003 07:24 PM
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