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The Significance of Abu Zubaydah

11:13 AM, Aug 25, 2009 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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As I discussed in my piece, The Zubaydah Dossier, there is no question that Abu Zubaydah was a top al Qaeda terrorist with detailed knowledge of al Qaeda's plotting. Despite a wealth of evidence in this regard, however, some still insist that Zubaydah was not really all that important. This is nonsense, but the Washington Post keeps repeating it over and over again.

One of the reports declassified and released yesterday by the Obama administration provides still more evidence of Abu Zubaydah's significance. The report, which was authored by the CIA in June of 2005 and is titled "Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al Qaeda," notes:

Abu Zubaydah was the first of several detainees to reveal a significant quantity of general threat information against targets abroad and in the United States - including the White House and other US symbols.

In addition, the report's authors explained:

"Reporting from Abu Zubaydah has been used as a baseline for debriefing other senior detainees…[redacted]"

Then there is this:

Since 11 September, the capture and debriefing of [High Value Detainees] has significantly advanced our understanding of al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups. Before the capture of Abu Zubaydah in March 2002, we had significant gaps in knowledge about al Qaeda's organizational structure, key members and associates, capabilities, [redacted] and its presence around the globe. Within months of his arrest, Abu Zubaydah provided details about al Qaeda's organizational structure, key operatives, and modus operandi. Early in his detention, his information on al Qaeda's Shura Council and its various committees added to what we were learning [redacted]

Among the al Qaeda terrorists Zubaydah gave up intelligence on, the report's authors explain, were two senior al Qaeda terrorists who were then plotting attacks against America, both here at home and abroad.

In addition, Abu Zubaydah's identification early in his detention of [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] as the mastermind of 11 September and al Qaeda's premier terrorist planner and of ‘Abd al Rahim al Nashiri as another key al Qaeda operational planner corroborated information [redacted]

Thus ends the idea that Abu Zubaydah wasn't all that important within al Qaeda. It was a ridiculous notion in the first place. Will the Washington Post run a front-page retraction of its earlier front-page "reporting"?