A senior operative for al Qaeda in Iraq who was caught this month has told his U.S. military interrogators a prominent al Qaeda-led group is just a front and its leader fictitious, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.It's all been a dream. We'll wake up and Bobby Ewing will be in the shower:
Brigadier-General Kevin Bergner told a news conference that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq, which was purportedly set up last year, did not exist. [...]
[T]he information came from an operative called Khalid al-Mashadani who was caught on July 4 and who he said was an intermediary to Osama bin Laden. [...]
The Islamic State of Iraq was set up in October, comprising a group of Sunni militant affiliates and tribal leaders led by Baghdadi. In April, it named a 10-man "cabinet".
The Islamic State of Iraq has claimed many high-profile acts of violence.
But Bergner said Mashadani and Masri had co-founded a "virtual organization in cyberspace called the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006 as a new Iraqi pseudonym for AQI". [...]
"To make al-Baghdadi appear credible, al-Masri swore allegiance to al-Baghdadi and pledged to obey him, which is essentially pledging allegiance to himself since he knew Baghdadi was fictitious and a creation of his own," he said. [...]
But we actually heard his voice...didn't we?
Voice recordings purporting to be from Baghdadi have appeared on the Internet, although Bergner said he had been played by an actor. [...]
The U.S. military has always said al Qaeda in Iraq was run by foreigners.
Good lord, which looking-glass will we go through next?