Pakistan attempts to trade CIA contractor for convicted al Qaeda operative 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.

For more information on Siddiqui and her involvement with al Qaeda, see LWJ reports, ‘Lady al Qaeda’ sentenced to 86 years in prison and Analysis: ‘Lady al Qaeda’ in propaganda.

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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  • Reader says:

    Stevie Wonder, Helen Keller AND Homer Simpson saw that [TRADE] rearing it’s Head as soon as the [Davis] Story broke.
    D’oh !

  • Nobody says:

    Who leaked this guy’s cover and true function to the press and Pakistan? Was it Vallerie Plame Wilson? Whomever it was, they really screwed this guy bad.

  • DANNY says:

    If this don’t give us and excuse to burn down Pakistan, nothing will eh?

  • Paul says:

    When are we going to learn Pakistan alongside Iran and possibly Saudi are enemies of democracy and Western freedom.
    All of these countries powers(Pak Army,Iran Govt,Saudi Govt want Sharia Law and hate western democracy!

  • Villiger says:

    Bear in mind that the Pakistanis are masters at catch and release. Yes i understand that normally takes place in situations more opaque than this. But now that the negotiations are taking place Govt-to-govt, military-to-military and spy-to-spy, i reckon a way will be found.
    It may include immunity to ISI’s Pasha vis-a-vis the civil legal case in the US tied to the Mumbai massacre. It will definitely include some kind of a personal IOU to Kayani and/or Zardari, it may even include a get-out-of-jail-free card of some kind for now or the future, but very unlikely for this woman. But i never say never.
    Meantime, with all the other hasty departures of Agency personnel/contractors, i’m wondering what the impact will be on the drone program? And what of the 45 contacts of Davis said to have been arrested?

  • Grim says:

    This trade is simply absurd. Plus they arrested 45 people on his contact list. Someone needs to grow a pair and put the GoP in its place. It’s very simple, no Davis = no money. If they threaten to disallow our strikes, then we should just remove the FATA and NWFP off the face of the Earth. Play-time with the GoP should have ended a long time ago. We should have left Baitullah Mahsud alone too until the PAKMIL demonstrates true commitment.

  • Jose says:

    Mr. Davis is very brave man. Do you really believe all this was just an unfortunate turn of events or an accident? I think I see what’s happening, but if I say so, would help our enemy….so it’s sssssshhhhhhhhhhhh. (I’m laughing).

  • blert says:

    The Guardian claims credit in Western news markets.
    Which is curious…
    It has always operated as a Soviet/Russian front/ asset.
    Never in its history has the Guardian deviated from Moscow.
    The press has long been used as a cover for the KGB/SVR.
    Why stop now?
    Like the Mafia ownership of Las Vegas casinos; Moscow can own a publisher without holding a single share.
    We’re seeing the same phenomena in the blogs. Moscow pays attention and injects trolls and disinformation constantly. Such operations function in the manner of electronic jamming. The truth gets tangled in a spew of distortion. Finger pointing at Moscow gets mocked.
    We are expected to believe that a huge state organ: Central achieves nothing year after year while riding at the apex of Moscow’s prestige and authority charts — getting all of the top talent they want.

  • Charu says:

    Chutzpah has to be the national pastime of Pakistan. It is embarrassing to see how they try to squeeze every last drop out of the US, their largest benefactor for most of their miserable existence. If this sordid attempt at a blatant shake down doesn’t open eyes at the CIA and at the Pentagon, nothing will.

  • villiger says:

    Re the murder of the cabinet minister: What a barbaric society Pakistan is. They should really be accorded the fate of the Neanderthals. They are in fact the Neanderthals of our time.

  • blert says:

    Folks, they’re in a civil war. Period.
    By imprisoning Raymond Davis’ contact list Islamabad has shut down our in country CIA network almost entirely.
    This means strategic defeat in Afpak. Period.
    The only counter to this is America declaring Pakistan an enemy power and all that follows.
    This is much, much worse than the embassy fiasco in Tehran.
    Naturally, the MSM is fading it.

  • Infidel4LIFE says:

    Again, the P-stani’s prove their loyalty. They are the enemy we cannot let fail, but let the chips fall where they may.


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