Latest Bush Blunder: A Mole Made Public
Leaking Mr. Khan’s name enhanced nobody’s safety—with the possible exception of certain Al Qaeda members warned of their own impending capture when they read the morning newspapers. For within a few days, Reuters reported that following his arrest, Mr. Khan had been "turned." A computer expert picked up in Lahore, he was said to be helping the authorities break up terrorist cells in Britain and the U.S.
Security officials in London are still enraged because the Khan leak from Washington forced them to act too precipitously, rushing to arrest 13 suspects in broad daylight raids across Britain the next day. No doubt the C.I.A. officials whose high-tech tracking efforts led to Mr. Khan’s capture felt similar frustration. In a war against terrorist groups that have proved nearly impossible to penetrate with human agents, the loss of
such a well-placed turncoat could prove tragic.
There is no question about who perpetrated the leak. On Aug. 8, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice admitted that the administration had disclosed Khan’s arrest to The Times "on background." Experts around the world are still astonished by this reckless decision.