Sakset/Fra hofta

Vestlig etterretning har uhyre store vanskeligheter med å plassere folk på innsiden av jihdaist-sirklene. Å simulere fanatisme er vanskelig og dessuten stoler de mest på klanmedlemmer.

A decade after al-Qaeda issued a global declaration of war against America, U.S. spy agencies have had little luck recruiting well-placed informants and are finding the upper reaches of the network tougher to penetrate than the Kremlin during the Cold War, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials.

Til tider skjer det utilgivelige bommerter. Spansk politi blåste identiteten til en pakistansk informant da de arresterte en gruppe pakistanere i Barcelona nylig. Gruppen hadde planlagt terrorbombing av t-banen i byer over hele Europa. Men i mangel av konkrete bevis overfor domstolen måtte politiet legge frem hva de hadde, og det var informantens opplysninger.

At the same time, those agencies have made their task harder by blowing the cover of some promising informants and mishandling others.

In January, Spanish police arrested 14 men in Barcelona who they suspected were preparing to bomb subways in cities across Europe. Investigators disclosed in court documents that the arrests had been prompted by a Pakistani informant working for French intelligence.

The revelation infuriated French officials, who were forced to withdraw the informant — a rare example of an agent who had successfully infiltrated training camps in Pakistan. Spanish authorities expressed regret but said they had no choice; after they failed to find bombs or much other evidence during the arrests, the case rested largely on the informant’s word.

Dette er ikke den eneste blunderen. Da marokkanske myndigheter arresterte en jihadist forrige måned, kom det frem at han sto bak flere uoppklarte drap i Belgia. Da saken ble kjent i Belgia viste det seg at han hadde vært betalt informant for belgisk sikkerhetspoliti!

Last month, authorities in Casablanca arrested a Belgian-Moroccan citizen, Abdelkader Belliraj, and charged him with plotting terrorist acts. Investigators said he worked closely with al-Qaeda and had met in Afghanistan with Zawahiri, the network’s deputy leader, in 2001. During his interrogation, according to Moroccan officials, Belliraj confessed to involvement in six unsolved murders in Belgium in the late 1980s.

The case exploded into a scandal a few days later when newspapers in Brussels reported that Belliraj had served as a paid informant for Belgium’s domestic intelligence service, even as his network plotted assassinations and robbed armored cars in Europe.

After a Decade at War With West, Al-Qaeda Still Impervious to Spies