Monday, November 29, 2004

Tracking down terrorists in Mosul

From The New York Times:
At first the suspect was merely one of 115 Iraqis whom American troops corralled for questioning on Saturday night in a particularly nasty part of Mosul. But his belligerence stood out. And then he made his move.

Sitting where the troops had ordered him to sit - in front of an open-air cigarette store - the suspect flicked out of his pocket several folded sheets of handwritten notes. It was clear he hoped the pages would land unnoticed amid the clutter of the store just a step away.

They did not. A soldier scooped them up and handed them to an Iraqi interpreter working for the Americans. "Who has this? He is an insurgent!" shouted the interpreter, known only to the soldiers as Jeff the Fighting Kurd.

Jeff and another interpreter quickly translated the pages for the American officers who gathered around.

One passage mentioned a proposal for a large-scale attack against American troops, according to the interpreters. Another urged attacks on the families of Iraqis thought to be working for the Americans. Another described "how to get money and use the money for jihad," an interpreter said. And still another underscored the importance of "bringing information about who is working for the U.S. forces."

An American commander told embedded journalists not to report other passages - more specific, descriptive and pointed - for fear of jeopardizing efforts to gather intelligence and prevent attacks on American forces.

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