Is Adam Gadahn in Pakistani custody? Depends who you ask


Earlier today, reports from Pakistan indicated that American turncoat and traitor Adam Gadahn was detained in a Pashtun neighborhood in Karachi. Now, some news outlets are saying this is a case of mistaken identity, and that either a Taliban or an al Qaeda leader named Abu Yahya Mujahdeen al Adam was actually the one captured.

So far, some of the media outlets in the “Gadahn’s captured” camp are:

McClatchy: Pakistan says it’s arrested al Qaida’s American mouthpiece

The Associated Press: Officers: Pakistan detains American-born al-Qaida

Reuters: Pakistanis “arrest American al Qaeda spokesman”

Dawn: Top Al Qaeda leader reported held in Karachi

Geo News: Al-Qaeda most wanted Adam Yahiye Gadahn held in Karachi

The Los Angeles Times: Californian militant arrested?

And some the media outlets in the “case of mistaken identity” camp are:

ABC News: Pakistan Arrests American Al Qaeda Member, Identity Not Confirmed

CBS News: Arrested al Qaeda Member May be American

The Wall Street Journal: Taliban Leader Arrested in Pakistan

The New York Times: Qaeda Operative Arrested in Pakistan

So what camp does The Long War Journal fall under? Undecided. I’ve watched this bizarre version of the game of Where’s Waldo? play out in Pakistan far too long to accept any report as solid at first glance. Unless it’s an official confirmation from al Qaeda or the Taliban, or we’re staring at a picture or video of a corpse, the initial reports have to be filed under ‘thought to have been killed/captured.’

In this case, you still have Pakistani intelligence officials telling the wire services Gadahn is indeed in custody. Even US officials are divided on the reports, but most are skeptical. It would be helpful if Pakistan released a photo and provided access to the suspect and DNA to the US to confirm or deny.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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1 Comment

  • kp says:

    DNA? A photo and fingerprints should work fine (Adam G does have a minor criminal record doesn’t he?).

    What a bizarre situation. At best one might think it disinfo to try to muddy the waters if we think perhaps we have some actionable intelligence related to him they they may want to try to use. AQ may not know who we have yet or might reveal themselves to SIGINT trying to find out more if they’re not sure.


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