What’s the ISI’s Interest in Aafia Siddiqui?
ABC News reported today that Pakistan attempted to exchange CIA contractor Raymond Davis for convicted al Qaeda operative Aafia Siddiqui. This should come as no surprise, as speculation about a possible prisoner exchange first appeared in the Pakistani press just days after Davis’ arrest. ABC News reports:
The government of Pakistan offered to trade a CIA contractor currently jailed in that country for a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected by U.S. intelligence to be an al Qaeda operative.According to a senior American administration official and a Pakistani official involved in the negotiations to free CIA contractor Raymond Davis, the Pakistani government proposed trading Davis for Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-educated Pakistani neuroscientist currently serving 86 years in federal prison for attempted murder.
The offer was immediately dismissed by the U.S. government. “The Pakistanis have raised it,” the U.S. official said. “We are not going to pursue it.”
Keep in mind that Aafia Siddiqui, who has been dubbed “Lady al Qaeda” by the press, was sentenced to 86 years in prison by a US jury in September 2010 for attempting to kill US troops in Afghanistan after being captured in Ghazni province. Siddiqi had close links to al Qaeda operational commander Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and was involved in several plots to attack the US homeland. From Thomas Joscelyn’s report on Siddiqui:
According to an indictment prepared by US prosecutors, Siddiqui had “various documents, various chemicals, and a computer thumb drive, among other things” in her possession when she was arrested. Handwritten notes she was carrying referred to a “mass casualty attack” and listed “various locations in the United States, including Plum Island, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge.”In addition, according to the indictment, “certain notes referred to the construction of ‘dirty bombs,’ chemical and biological weapons, and other explosives.” The notes “discussed mortality rates associated with certain of these weapons and explosives.”
Still other notes “referred to various ways to attack ‘enemies,’ including by destroying reconnaissance drones, using underwater bombs, and using gliders.”
Siddiqui’s computer thumb drive contained contained “correspondence that referred to specific ‘cells’ and ‘attacks’ by certain ‘cells’,” as well as documents discussing “recruitment and training.”
The notes and documents in Siddiqui’s possession reveal that she was most likely still involved in al Qaeda’s plotting against the US Homeland at the time of her capture. She apparently did not give up, even though many of her co-conspirators had been rolled up following KSM’s detention.
So what’s the interest for Pakistan to obtain Aafia Siddiqui in exchange for Mr. Devis? Could this be seen as an exchange of spies? I wonder if the ISI would like to get hold of Aafia to keep her from perhaps giving up data on their connections to AQ. After all, she is related to KSM through an uncle and it would seem, through her allegiance to AQ and Jihad. It would also seem that she may have been a key player in AQ from her having a usb thumbdrive with all kinds of technical goodies on it.
That Aafia was not sent to Gitmo is also an interesting turn, her attack on the interrogators, however, 5 years of her life cannot be accounted for, and this should be of great interest to the FBI and other anti terror entities. What was she up to and where was she post her 2003 disappearance? Why would she not be sent to Gitmo as opposed to the 86 year term she got for assault with intent?
Can one maybe say cooperation?
All I know is that Aafia had plans on that little thumbdrive for Plum Island. She had the schooling and the know how to put together a weapon of mass destruction and plans for Plum Island… And she is serving 86 years for assault.
Things that make you go “hmmmm”