Heard about the intelligence source and a disputed BBC report? Well, there’s another one!
According to the usually dull American magazine Newsweek, the sting on the London arms dealer story was never meant to be announced:
THE FBI’S ARREST of London-based arms dealer Hemant Lakhani, 68, at a hotel room near Newark Liberty International Airport this week was supposed to be only an interim step in what officials hoped would be a far more meaningful long-term operation, law-enforcement sources said. The bureau’s plan was to quickly flip Lakhani, a British citizen of Indian extraction, and then use him as an undercover informant who could lead agents to real-life Osama bin Laden operatives seeking sophisticated weapons.
But those plans went awry late Tuesday afternoon when the Feds learned that the BBC was about to broadcast a sensational report on Lakhani’s arrest by one of its star correspondents, Tom Mangold. The BBC story, based on an apparent leak from a law-enforcement source, had some key details wrong. For one thing, it falsely claimed that the arms dealer’s attempted sale of a shoulder-fired SA-18 missile and launder was part of a plot by terrorists to shoot down Air Force One—a target that never actually came up in the discussions.
It seems that for Glenn Reynold’s the media’s job is to ignore exclusive major news stories even when they are handed to them on a plate. Perhaps there could be a job for Reynold’s around September time in London?
But I wonder if there will now be pressure on the BBC to name their source in US law enforcement?
Or will the US government come forward and ‘out’ the informer? Will he have to go in front of a congressional inquiry into the affair?
(Oh, just a thought, but how did Newsweek ‘learn’ this side of the story? Well in their words “U.S. law-enforcement sources” told them. Maybe some people will understand the point I was making now?)