Thursday, May 27, 2004

Terra Ists

Writing in the PDN, Will Bunch has some interesting things to say:

Today comes international terror suspect Aafia Siddiqui, a Volvo-driving, MIT-trained neurologist and mother of three, who was reported arrested and then reported not arrested within a matter of hours in April 2003.

Siddiqui, 32, a Pakistani who once lived in Boston, apparently split from her husband, an anesthesiologist, and fled to her native country. Thirteen months ago, NBC News and other news organizations said she'd been arrested there - later confirmed to the Associated Press by two U.S. officials.

That same day, a second AP story said American officials suddenly had "backed off" claims that she was in custody. They claimed new information from the Pakistani government had made her arrest "doubtful."

Yesterday, she was one of seven terror suspects named in a high-profile press conference by Attorney General John Ashcroft. American officials insist that she was named by captured al Qaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and that she shared a post-office box with a terrorism suspect.

Despite the hype, most of the alleged terrorists named yesterday by Ashcroft had been publicly identified long ago. One former national security official in the Bush administration told Reuters news service: "This is more butt-covering than anything else."