"The tide of war is turning…suffered significant setbacks…on the brink of defeat"--those were the top line quotes used by CBS' David Martin from CIA Director Michael Hayden about the dire straits facing al-Qaeda. Not only is the terrorist network all washed up in Iraq, according to the CIA, and decimated by arrest and assassination in Saudi Arabia, it is also "facing an ideological rebellion in its own ranks." A former member of al-Qaeda's inner circle known as Dr Fadl "has publicly denounced the group's violent tactics." It shows how little remaining newsmaking clout the once-vaunted War on Terrorism has left that only CBS assigns a reporter to cover this assessment. ABC mentioned it in passing; NBC not at all.
ABC can be forgiven for skipping the al-Qaeda story since it settled on an outrageous tidbit from Pakistan instead. Brian Ross landed a telephone q-&-a with AQ Khan, the physicist currently under house arrest for proliferating nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Ross reminded us that Khan confessed four years ago to selling the know-how "almost singlehandedly" as part of a private rogue network without the permission or knowledge of President Pervez Musharraf. At the time Musharraf had to prove he was out of the loop--otherwise the United States would have had to impose sanctions on Pakistan.
Khan protested to Ross that Musharraf reneged on a deal: back then Khan agreed to take the blame in exchange for a subsequent pardon. None has been granted. So now Ross asked if it is true that he ran a private network: "I deny it. I deny it. I deny it." Ross suggested that Khan talk to US investigators. "Why should they ask me any questions? It is none of their bloody business." Does Khan's interview change the official views of the governments of Pakistan or the United States? "He is still seen as a lone operator making millions selling nuclear equipment and know-how."
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