John Walker Lindh, the American Taliban fighter captured by Marines in Afghanistan has told American officials in intelligence debriefings that al Qaeda?s next attack on the U.S. will occur at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends Sunday, and will involve biological weapons. This will be ?Phase II? of the war against the U.S. and a third phase will cause the destruction of the entire country, according to the Islamic convert.
This information was among other intelligence reports that led the Bush administration to issue a public warning last week about a possible terrorist attack. However, officials have questioned the credibility of Lindh?s claim because of his relatively low-level position in al-Qaeda.
General Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says of Lindh, ?He?s been pretty close to the action, and he has provided from the Afghan perspective some useful information. I think the evidence is pretty strong that he was right in the middle of it.?
The U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida says that Lindh is being treated as an enemy prisoner of war. The Pentagon has not decided whether he will be charged with treason. Lindh is reportedly being held in a cell made out of a large green metal shipping container, surrounded by barbed wire and Marine guards, on the Marine base in southern Afghanistan.
Lindh may also have inforation on the prisoner uprising that killed CIA officer Johnny Spann. Lindh was videotaped as he was interrogated by Spann hours before he was killed by rebelling Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners at a fortress near Mazar-e-Sharif. Lindh initially said his name was Abdul Hamid.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz says Lindh?s information has been ?very helpful? and adds, ?Obviously the people who really have the information that we really want to get are those top al Qaeda leaders and maybe some of the Taliban leaders and maybe we?ll find it in documents in places we are now able to get into. But I think anyone who knows anything about that organization is a potentially valuable source of information.?
While all threats of this kind should be taken seriously, we should remember that the original al-Qaeda strikes, against the Pentagon and World Trade Center, was made without warning, which them more effective. The anthrax letters seem to have trailed off and may not have been instigated by the same group. When you?ve run out of weapons and are being routed by the American military, the one thing you have left is the ability to terrorize your opponent through threats, and a zealous convert would be the type of fighter most likely to do just that.
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