Breaking: Pakistanis capture American-born Taliban commander? Update: AP, NBC reporting Gadahn captured; Update: CBS says not so fast

posted at 12:59 pm on March 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Well, maybe.  NBC News apparently had this breaking on Twitter, but thus far none of the American wire services have picked it up as yet.  Pakistan’s Dawn reports that their intel services, working with the CIA, seized an American-born Taliban commander.  But is it the American traitor that we’ve come to know as Fat Bastard, Adam Gadahn?

Pakistani security forces along with help of US intelligence arrested Abu Yahya Mujahdeen Al- Adam, who is a close associate of Osama Bin Laden. Abu Yahya was arrested on Sunday from an area surrounding the super highway, on the outskirts of Karachi.

Sources confirmed that the arrested militant commander has been shifted to Islamabad for further investigation.

Pennsylvania-born Abu Yahya is a US citizen and assumed to be a commander of foreign militants fighting in Afghanistan against the US. He was living with Osama Bin Ladin after 9/11 attacks in New York. His name is included in the top ten wanted on the CIA list.

The CIA does not have a handy Top Ten list of wanted terrorists; hopefully, they want them all.  The FBI does have a list of its top wanted terrorists, though, and has this listing for Gadahn:

Aliases:    Abu Suhayb Al-Amriki, Abu Suhail Al-Amriki, Abu Suhayb, Yihya Majadin Adams, Adam Pearlman, Yayah, Azzam the American, Azzam Al-Amriki

Coincidentally, or perhaps confusing the reports, Gadahn has a new tape out today as well.  He wants Muslims in the American military to follow the example of Nidal Hasan and start committing massacres on bases:

Al-Qaida’s American-born spokesman on Sunday called on Muslims serving in the U.S. armed forces to emulate the Army major charged with killing 13 people in Fort Hood.

In a 25-minute video posted on militant Web sites, Adam Gadahn described Maj. Nidal Hasan as a pioneer who should serve as a role model for other Muslims, especially those serving Western militaries.

“Brother Nidal is the ideal role-model for every repentant Muslim in the armies of the unbelievers and apostate regimes,” he said.

Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki, was dressed in white robes and wearing a white turban as he called for attacks on what he described as “high-value targets.”

Is this the man whom Dawn reports has been captured?  Gadahn has been the subject of unsubstantiated rumors in the past.  US forces thought they’d killed him in a rocket attack several months ago.  He survived that attempt, but has not usually been considered a “commander” in the military sense, more of a propagandist.  We’ll see if Dawn’s report is true, but at least one detail would be wrong if it’s Gadahn; he was born in Oregon, not Pennsylvania.  This could be another American traitor, or a confused and erroneous report.

Update: NBC now reports that the Pakistanis have Gadahn:

The word came from sources cited by The Associated Press and Pakistani news Web sites.

An intelligence source confirmed the reports to NBC News, and photographs supplied to NBC of the detained suspect corroborated the accounts.

Gadahn was detained in Sohrab Goth, a suburb of Karachi, and was later moved to the capital Islamabad, the source added.

The AP has followed suit:

Pakistani intelligence agents have arrested Adam Gadahn, the American-born spokesman for al-Qaida, in an operation in the southern city of Karachi, two officers and a government official said Sunday.

The arrest of Gadahn is a major victory in the U.S.-led battle against al-Qaida and will be taken as a sign that Pakistan is cooperating more fully with Washington. It follows the recent detentions of several Afghan Taliban commanders in Karachi.

Gadahn was arrested in the sprawling southern metropolis in recent days, two officers who took part in the operation said. A senior government official also confirmed the arrest.

Gadahn should be tried for treason, and if convicted, hung at the gallows.  Let’s hope the Obama administration understands that.

Update II: Just a thought; it seems as though Pakistan has suddenly become a lot more effective at finding high-value targets in the Af-Pak theater.  Has the ISI decided to stamp out the Taliban and/or al-Qaeda?  If so, what’s changed?  I’d be happy to give Obama credit for it if it’s something the US did.

Update III: Bill Roggio’s sources say that it really is Gadahn this time.

Update IV: I have a fresh post on this, but just to make sure it’s noted here, CBS reported this afternoon that it’s not Gadahn.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


CBS is now reporting that it isn’t Gadahn. Crap.

halfastro on March 7, 2010 at 5:49 PM


What changed was the attack on the CIA by “their” Taliban agent. I think there are unwritten rules in the intelligence agencies and one of them is not to double cross them. IF the CIA was doubled crossed by one of their Taliban agents then what about the ISI, who have more of these Taliban agents? So its retribution, its a serious crackdown, recognizing the potential infiltration of the Taliban in their ranks and the potential of being surprised by a major attack. I see this turn of events as a preventative move by the ISI and by extension the Pakistani government, rather than anything Obama has done.

milemarker2020 on March 7, 2010 at 5:54 PM

3… 2… 1… MSNBC reports he’s a teabagger!

DANEgerus on March 7, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Also note (as I said previously on page 2) that Roggio never claimed it was definitely Gadahn.

gh on March 7, 2010 at 6:20 PM

C’mon Ted – while you are absolutely correct, do you really trust Obama/Holder’s DOJ to handle this? I mean, what aspect of trying Gadan in a US federal court would they NOT screw up? This would be the OJ trial on cluster-bomb steroids.

Fishoutofwater on March 7, 2010 at 3:46 PM

it’s not a matter of me trusting them or not. What matters is that they perform. Those guys are the big bad lawyer types, so, if that’s the case–let the rule of law do its work. The guys been charged, and, if the case gets botched–then, those folks will eat their share of crap sandwich over it.

ted c on March 7, 2010 at 7:04 PM

Individuals come and go and Islam remains the same. Whack a Mole.

Gadahn should be tried for treason, and if convicted, hung at the gallows. Let’s hope the Obama administration understands that.

I don’t think anyone has been hung for treason in the U.S. for at least 60 years. I don’t think Obama of all presidents is going to break that pattern.

MB4 on March 7, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Well, G’damit, go get him!


woodcdi on March 7, 2010 at 7:35 PM

Now they’re saying he wasn’t the one arrested.

tanarg on March 7, 2010 at 8:52 PM


G. on March 7, 2010 at 1:49 PM

We need to have a video for every time a terrorists is killed or captured like we have with the humpbot every time we win an election.

Conservative Samizdat on March 7, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Mo today, Gadahn tomorrow.

profitsbeard on March 7, 2010 at 10:42 PM

No problem… We’ll get him soon enough…

Heh heh heh…

Khun Joe on March 7, 2010 at 11:29 PM

If so, what’s changed? I’d be happy to give Obama credit for it if it’s something the US did.
It’s something that Bush and Condi did. They took a lot of criticism for it. Can you remember what it was?

Texas Gal on March 7, 2010 at 2:51 PM

What changed?

Regimen change.. by a democratic process (that Bush and Condi took criticism for).. in Pakistan.

Texas Gal on March 7, 2010 at 11:36 PM

May I introduce you to “Adam?” He is one of our islamist traitor beasts.

I know, I know.

A “Terrorist named Adam”

You really cannot make this stuff up.

Invisible kid fell thru the grid??

Sherman1864 on March 7, 2010 at 11:45 PM

Gadahn should be tried for treason. . . Let’s hope the Obama administration understands that.

Obama understands treason? He certainly understands traitors. He understands them, he admires them, he protects them, and whenever possible, he gives them a place in his cabinet.

smellthecoffee on March 8, 2010 at 12:33 AM

This story is exactly why the net really isn’t news.

AnninCA on March 8, 2010 at 1:37 AM

Gah dang

faraway on March 8, 2010 at 2:08 AM

Britain’s Times Online says it’s Gadahn:
American-born al-Qaeda spokesman arrested in Pakistan

scrubjay on March 8, 2010 at 2:09 AM

I wish it was Gadahn so we can hang him.

Denniscat on March 8, 2010 at 7:16 AM

If he turns out to be a different American, one who’s an actual Taliban commander, the calculation becomes a lot trickier for the administration. With Gadahn, it’s simple: try the man for treason in the federal court. Politically there’s no downsides. Since the indictment was handed down under Bush, it’d be hard for the right to argue that Obama is weak on terror by pursuing this route. Our side will end up looking ridiculous claiming a star of Al Qaeda’s home videos is somehow a “combatant.” The Left will be placated because they get to have someone in the civilian system. It’s really a win-win situation. In case of an American who actually bore arms against our armed forces, the argument for treating him as an enemy combatant is much more clear-cut. Even Obama will find it hard to grant him Miranda rights, thereby sacrificing valuable intel, not when American soldiers are fighting and dying in his mission. But of course, not doing so would provoke the mother of clusterfark with the Left. These people are taking out full-page ads demanding civilian trial for KSM of all people. Imagine how they would react when the One is forced to send an American citizen to a military commission.

year_of_the_dingo on March 8, 2010 at 9:24 AM

Good picture: Gadahn uses his digit to tell us his IQ.

BottomLine5 on March 8, 2010 at 11:55 AM

So, any confirmation on this yet? Who do they have?

Scrappy on March 8, 2010 at 12:23 PM

BlameAmericaLast on March 7, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Yes, but not the one your thinking of.

DSchoen on March 8, 2010 at 1:12 PM

More staged terror attacks by the CIA! ADMIT IT GUYS, GOVERNMENTS STAGE ATTACKS!

And in case you need FURTHER PRIMING!

BobAnthony on March 9, 2010 at 12:29 PM