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.