Sunday, December 04, 2005

I'm usually skeptical when I read what's said about the importance of newly dead al-Qaeda figures, but Hamza Rabia, reportedly killed on Thursday near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in a rocket attack, actually shows up in this 2004 BBC article as the "accomplice" to the then recently captured Abu Faraj al-Libbi and in this 2004 MSNBC story as "a top 5 al Qaeda official." So it looks as if this guy really was described as an AQ bigwig before his death. Thumbs up, then.

(We'll return shortly to our regularly scheduled cynicism.)


UPDATE: Well, that'll teach me:

President Bush's national security adviser refused on Sunday to confirm that a top al-Qaida leader was killed in Pakistan, contradicting statements by Pakistan's president and U.S. officials.

... Stephen Hadley, the president's national security adviser, declined to confirm on Sunday that Rabia was dead or that the missile attack was carried by a pilotless U.S. plane....

The White House aide told CNN's "Late Edition" that there were "conflicting reports" as to what may have happened to Rabia....

Was the original story true and this is just ass-covering because the Bushies don't want it to seem as if U.S. force is being used in Pakistani territory? Were the original reports hyped? I don't know -- but this'll teach me to grab for the salt whenever I read reports like this.

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