Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Guy who set himself on fire outside Bush White House an AQ FBI informant 

In the immortal words of Casey Stengel: "Can't anyone here play this game?"

The attempted suicide Monday outside the White House was that of a Yemeni man who was an FBI informant on terrorism, and it has complicated a federal prosecution in Brooklyn of a suspected financier of al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden.

The informant, identified by defense attorneys as Mohamed Alanssi, 52, set himself on fire after he wrote letters to the news media and the FBI about his growing despondency as a confidential witness.

He is a crucial government witness against Mohammed Ali Hassan Al-Moayad and Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed, both of whom were extradited from Germany in 2003 to stand trial on charges they gave support to terrorist groups al-Qaida and Hamas. Both defendants are being held without bail in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park.
(via Newsday)

The rest of the Newsday story has plenty of information from the defense on issues of the case in which Alanssi was a witness...

But sheesh! FBI informants setting themselves on fire? WTF? There's no possible scenario where this could be the right thing to happen. Start with the idea that it's just barely possible that the FBI may have a little more trouble recruiting informants—at a time when human intelligence is desperately needed.

I'm sure whichever higher-up who let this happen will be held accountable [cough].

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