There are a few interesting things going on here.
1. Democrats, lefties, and some libertarians have loudly ridiculed any mention of the alliance between Al Qaeda and Iran. This is another reminder that the alliance is very real.
2. Before President Trump, there was plenty of intelligence sharing between the US and Israel, but it usually went one way, from Israel to the US, with the Israelis having little idea if the US would make use of it. This reverses the pattern with the US providing intelligence to Israel and the Israelis carrying out the operation.
3. It’s a bold and daring operation that serves as a reminder that Iran and Al Qaeda are in bed together, just as a Democrat closely linked to Iran is trying to make it into the White House, while neutering a linkage between Al Qaeda and Iran.
Leaking these details now sends a pretty clear message.
The United States and Israel worked together to track and kill a senior al-Qaida operative in Iran earlier this year, a bold intelligence operation by the two allied nations that came as the Trump administration was ramping up pressure on Tehran.
Four current and former U.S. officials said Abu Mohammed al-Masri, al-Qaida’s No. 2, was killed by assassins in the Iranian capital in August. The U.S. provided intelligence to the Israelis on where they could find al-Masri and the alias he was using at the time, while Israeli agents carried out the killing, according to two of the officials
Al-Masri was gunned down in a Tehran alley on Aug. 7, the anniversary of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Al-Masri was widely believed to have participated in the planning of those attacks and was wanted on terrorism charges by the FBI.
The message here wasn’t subtle.
People in the Trump admin and the US intelligence community wanted to send a message and head off possible future attacks. They didn’t want to advertise it domestically while being accused of warmongering by the left, the libertarians, and some alt-right figures.
President Trump got enough grief from this swamp when he took out Suleimani.
But, frankly, we would have been better off hearing about it and taking credit for it.
Two of the officials — one within the intelligence community and with direct knowledge of the operation and another former CIA officer briefed on the matter — said al-Masri was killed by Kidon, a unit within the secretive Israeli spy organization Mossad allegedly responsible for the assassination of high-value targets. In Hebrew, Kidon means bayonet or “tip of the spear.”
The official in the intelligence community said al-Masri’s daughter, Maryam, was also a target of the operation. The U.S. believed she was being groomed for a leadership role in al-Qaida and intelligence suggested she was involved in operational planning, according to the official, who like the others, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.
Al-Masri’s daughter was the widow of Hamza bin Laden, the son of al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden. He was killed last year in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.
The one thing we can be sure of, if Biden gets into the White House, is that such operations will end.