3,490. 3/28/2002

“On Thursday, March 28, 2002, acting on electronic intercepts of telephone calls, heavily armed Pakistani commando units, accompanied by American Special Forces and FBI SWAT teams, raided a two-story house in the suburbs of Faisalabad, in western Pakistan. They received tips that one of the people in the house was Abu Zabaydah, the 30-year-old chief of operations for Al Qaeda who had been head of field operations for the USS Cole bombing [on October 12, 2000] and who was a close confidant of Osama bin Laden. Two days later, on March 30, news of Zubaydah’s capture was spreading all over the world. At first, the [Bush] administration refused to corroborate the reports; then it celebrated the capture of the highest-ranking Al Qaeda operative ever to be taken into custody. ‘This represents to a very significant blow to Al Qaeda,’ said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. He called Zubaydah a ‘key terrorist recruiter, an operational planner and a member of Osama bin Laden’s inner circle.’ ”

 – Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud, Pages 263-264

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