Ken AshfordElection 2004, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Back here, I posted about an article in the New Republic, the gist of which was this:

A White House aide asked the Pakistani government (specifically, their intelligence agency) to find or kill a high-level al Qaeda operative, adding "it would be best if the arrest or killing . . . were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July" — the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston

The reason, of course, is because announcing an al Qaeda capture or kill would take some of the headlines away from the Democratic Convention and John Kerry. So the White House was hoping to manipulate the outside news in a clear case of underhanded political opportunism.

That post and the New Republic article was about three weeks ago. And now we’re AT the time of the Democratic National Convention.

And . . . . guess what story is now coming over the wires? Guess what the Pakistanis are announcing? Go to your favorite news carrier of choice.

UPDATE: Here’s how it is being reported at CNN:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistani security forces have captured a high-level al Qaeda operative in a raid in central Pakistan, Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said Thursday.

Hayat said the east African, who was sought internationally, was captured "a few days back," and his capture shows "Pakistan is committed to fighting terrorism."

The man is being questioned, Hayat said.

"We have been quite successful … in apprehending key figures," Hayat said.

I see. You captured him "a few days back" and are now announcing the capture during the highest day of the Democratic National Convention . . . just like the memo you got from the White House told you to do. Interesting . . . .

UPDATE: Josh Marshall, who has been nursing this story has the proper take:

This is just the latest, but perhaps the most blatant, way in which this administration has placed politics and, really, political dirty tricks above national security itself, and along the way continued to define political deviance down until tactics we used to associate with banana republics start to seem commonplace here.


UPDATE: Well, a backdate actually. Let’s rewind to what WH Press Secretary Scottie McClennan said when asked about the New Republic allegation:

Q Well, what would you say to these Democrats who came out to — let me go quickly — they’re citing this announcement today, some are also citing this New Republic article that says the administration is somehow pressuring Pakistan to get Osama bin Laden in time for the Democratic Convention.

MR. McCLELLAN: John, I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in that article. This is a publication that certainly opposes our views.


Oooookay. Well, now that it has panned out to be TRUE, I guess we should put stock into publications that oppose your views. Thanks! I will!