March 04, 2004

Operation Mont Blanc

Don van Natta and Desmond Butler have an interesting story up on key Swiss efforts that helped to bust up various al-Qaeda plots.

You know, I've heard some informed observers speculate that the 19 9/11 hijackers were al-Qaeda's "A" team and they don't have a lot of other people of that caliber (ie, Westernized, some English speakers, able to keep their cool, remain pretty discreete, blend into Florida communities and gyms).

I'm not so sanguine. Not by a long shot.

But I am happy to see al-Qaeda operatives make stupid mistakes like the ones detailed in the NYT piece:

"Last year, Switzerland's legislature passed a law making it illegal to purchase cellphone chips without providing personal information, following testimony from a Swiss federal prosecutor, Claude Nicati, that the Swisscom cards had become popular with Qaeda operatives. The law goes into effect on July 1.

One senior official said the authorities were grateful that Qaeda members were so loyal to Swisscom.

Another official agreed: "They'd switch phones but use the same cards. The people were stupid enough to use the same cards all of the time. It was a very good thing for us."

Indeed.

Posted by Gregory at March 4, 2004 01:39 PM
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