THE capture of a supposed Al-Qaeda kingpin by Pakistani agents last week was hailed by President George W Bush as “a critical victory in the war on terror”. According to European intelligence experts, however, Abu Faraj al-Libbi was not the terrorists’ third in command, as claimed, but a middle-ranker derided by one source as “among the flotsam and jetsam” of the organisation.
Bush called him a “top general” and “a major facilitator and chief planner for the Al- Qaeda network”. Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, said he was “a very important figure”.
Yet the backslapping in Washington and Islamabad has astonished European terrorism experts, who point out that the Libyan was neither on the FBI’s most wanted list, nor on that of the State Department “rewards for justice” programme.
Another Libyan is on the FBI list — Anas al-Liby, who is wanted over the 1998 East African embassy bombings — and some believe the Americans may have initially confused the two.
...just another day at the bush White House