LONDON — Months after he was released from Guantánamo Bay, Abdul Rahman was back in the company of terrorist leaders along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. But he was a double agent, providing Taliban and al Qaeda secrets to Pakistani intelligence, which then shared the tips with Western counterparts.
The ruse cost him his life, according to a former Pakistani military intelligence official, Mahmood Shah. The Taliban began to suspect him, and after multiple interrogations executed him.
The case of Rahman, which Shah recounted to The Associated Press, falls in line with a key aspect of the fight against terror — Western intelligence agencies, with help from Islamic allies, are placing moles and informants inside al Qaeda and the Taliban. The program seems to be bearing fruit, even as many infiltrators like Rahman are discovered and killed.
It was a tip from an al Qaeda militant-turned-informant that led international authorities to find explosives hidden in printer cartridges from Yemen to the United States a week ago, Yemeni security officials say. Officials say the explosives could have caused a blast as deadly as the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people.
Phi Beta Iota: Human Intelligence (HUMINT) done right, in the context of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) done right, is the cheapest, fastest, and most effective means of creating intelligence (decision-support) at all levels from strategic to tactical. After ten years of letting CIA get away with doing both badly, and ten years of the Pentagon’s recovering from treating its HUMINT and CI people like shit, it appears that adults are finally back in charge. We continue to under-budget for operational HUMINT and OSINT, and we continue to grossly over-spend on contractor vapor-ware for technical capabilities that simply do not deliver 96% of what what we need, but that is a separate issue. It is good to see HUMINT (not OSINT) making some progress. However, the continued absence of a strategic analytic model and honest governance means that these capabilities are not being focused on transnational crime or on white collar crime, where the most significant gains in the public interest are to be achieved.
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