UNDERCOVER OPERATION BLOWN….What kind of idiots are running our counterterrorism operations?

The al-Qaida suspect named by U.S. officials as the source of information that led to this week?s terrorist alerts was working undercover, Pakistani intelligence sources said Friday, putting an end to the sting operation and forcing Pakistan to hide the man in a secret location.

….?After his capture [in July], he admitted being an al-Qaida member and agreed to send e-mails to his contacts,? a Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters. ?He sent encoded e-mails and received encoded replies. He?s a great hacker, and even the U.S. agents said he was a computer whiz.?

….In addition to ending the Pakistani sting, the premature disclosure of Khan?s identity may have affected a major British operation in which 12 suspects were arrested in raids this week, one of whom U.S. officials said was a senior al-Qaida figure. One of the men was released Friday.

What in God’s green earth is going on here? I have a whole stew of reactions swirling around in my head about this. I’m beside myself that Bush administration officials are so spineless that they’d kill an undercover operation just to remove some political heat from themselves. But: I’m also angry that the reaction to Sunday’s terror warning from Bush critics was so hysterical that the Bushies got panicked into doing this. And yet: I’m furious that Bush and his cronies have so corrupted our intelligence services that deep skepticism was hardly an unfair reaction. But: why did Tom Ridge insist on politicizing Sunday’s news in the first place? On the other hand: why did the New York Times print this? Did they know they were blowing an operation?

Any or all of these reactions may turn out to be ill advised. Maybe the Pakistanis are blowing smoke. Who knows. For now, I’m just pissed, but check back tomorrow after I’ve had more time to think.

In the meantime, let me just say that I can’t wait until Washington D.C. is being run by adults again. I really can’t wait.

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