November 9, 2002
EERIE LACKAWANA:U.S. Citizen Killed by CIA Linked to N.Y. Terror Case (Michael Powell and Dana Priest, November 9, 2002, Washington Post)
The U.S. citizen killed by a missile launched from a pilotless drone aircraft over Yemen was the ringleader of an alleged terrorist sleeper cell in Lackawanna, N.Y., administration officials said yesterday.
Kamal Derwish, one of two unindicted co-conspirators in the Lackawanna case, died along with the intended target of the attack, senior al Qaeda leader Abu Ali al-Harithi, who is accused of masterminding the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in which 17 sailors died.
These two men and four others were traveling in a car outside the Yemeni capital of Sanaa when they were hit by a Hellfire missile operated at an undisclosed location by the CIA. Derwish had been identified by sources Thursday as Ahmed Hijazi, an alias.
The CIA knew Derwish had returned to Yemen and was, as one administration official described him, "a fellow traveler" in a tight circle of terrorists atop the United States' unofficial most-wanted list. But the CIA officers who targeted the car, following it via live video from the drone and ultimately firing the missile, did not know Derwish was a passenger, the official said.
But, as the administration official -- who asked not to be identified -- noted dryly, "it would not have made a difference. If you're a terrorist, you're a terrorist."
So much for the guys in Lackawana being an innocent study group. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2002 6:40 AM