|Bin Ladin and Nasar, in Afghanistan|
Turn the clock back to the aftermath of the Madrid Train Bombing; escaping from Spain was Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, whose nomme de guerre is Abu Musab Al-Suri, a Syrian radical who was AQs leading theoretician, and whose personal relationship with Osama Bin Ladin goes way back. I have previously posted on this blog photographs of the two, together in the Afghan mountains, pre-9/11. One appears at the beginning of those article. He was, in 2005, considered to be one of the world's most dangerous terrorists, with a huge reward on his head.
Nasar, who was known to the US intelligence community as the intellectual author of the Madrid train attack, was tracked to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, whose leader, Sr. Chavez, provided him with not only refuge, but a security detail as a personal bodyguard. he was seen regularly in Caracas, at the mosque, and at a travel agency that was an AQ front.
During this time, while extensive surveillance was conducted upon him, by individuals acting on behalf of their US handlers, Nasar is believed to have planned, and supervised the execution of, the 7/7 attacks, according to sources who have always wondered why the United States failed to capture or kill him. Whether this is because it could have precipitated a major diplomatic crisis with Venezuela, whose oil was then sorely needed by American consumers ? Or was it because elements in the US intelligence community, burned by repeated intelligence failures, including 9/11, has become so risk-adverse, that taking such action, without approval at the highest level, was out of the question ? Due to the veil of secrecy surrounding this individual, and the fact that all relevant information is most likely classified, those questions remain unanswered.
If Nasar had been neutralized, would 7/7 planning have collapsed ? Unfortunately, we will never know, and we can't ask Nasar, who was captured much later, in Pakistan, and subsequently imprisoned in Syria, from which custody he was released, during that country's chaotic civil war. His current whereabouts are unknown, as far as I can determine.
I have often wondered why the United States has never captured any major terrorist figures in the Western Hemisphere, though a number of them have spent him there. Are we afraid of upsetting America's neighbors, by sending the Delta Force after them ? I cannot say, but the tenth anniversary of 7/7 brings up a lot of issues.