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Cooperating suspect's name revealed

August 07, 2004

ISLAMABAD, Aug 6: US officials revealed the name of captured Al Qaeda suspect Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan while he was still cooperating with Pakistani authorities, an intelligence source said on Friday.

Naeem Khan e-mailed comrades on Sunday and Monday as part of a Pakistani sting operation against Osama bin Laden's network, the source said. But his name appeared in the New York Times on Monday following anonymous briefings by US officials, raising suggestions their disclosure could have jeopardized the sting.

"He was cooperating with interrogators on Sunday and Monday and sent e-mails on both days," the intelligence source said. Naeem Khan was moved to a new location on Monday evening, he said.

US officials revealed Naeem Khan's name in anonymous briefings with journalists after New York and Washington were put on high alert for a possible Al Qaeda attack. The officials said the alert was prompted after Khan's capture in Pakistan last month yielded documents, computers, surveillance reports and sketches.

A string of arrests in Britain this week also resulted from Khan's detention. "After his capture he admitted being an Al Qaeda member and agreed to send e-mails to his contacts," the source said.

"He sent encoded e-mails and received encoded replies. He's a great hacker and even the US agents said he was a computer whiz." The source said Khan had intended to hack into both the Federal Bureau of Investigation's website and a British official website to destroy them.

Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat, in an interview on Friday, drew a veil over Khan's contribution to the breakthroughs against Al Qaeda. "This is a very sensitive subject. We must be very careful, we must exercise extreme caution in coming out with such names and such information," the minister said. -Reuters