No confirmation yet of al-Qaeda's claim of responsibility for Bhutto killing

I just found this at Informed Comment:

The USG Open Source Center sent out the following note, which points out that in scouring jihadi web sites, the analysts have found none where al-Qaeda has taken credit for assassinating Benazir Bhutto. You think of the announcement by al-Qaeda posted the morning of 7/7/05 when the London Underground was bombed. Yet they are not claiming this one. Curioser and curioser:

"FYI - - No Al-Qa'ida Claims for Bhutto Assassination Found on Jihadist Websites
Jihadist Websites -- OSC Summary
Monday, December 31,

FYI: No Al-Qa'ida Claims for Bhutto Assassination Found on Jihadist Websites

As of 1830 GMT on 31 December, OSC has not observed any official statements from Al-Qa'ida claiming responsibility for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on any of the websites that normally disseminate authenticated statements from the group. OSC will continue to monitor these websites for any such claims."

An al-Qaeda member known as Mustafa Abu al-Yazid is said to have claimed the assassination for al-Qaeda shortly after it was carried out. This claim is usually sourced to an Italian news site. However, the Italian website appears to contain no original reporting of this claim, although it does carry a report of a phone call made by al-Yazid to the Asia Times:

You can find the Asia Times article this appears to be based on here:

There appears to be a conflict between what the man claiming to be al-Yazid told the AT and al-Qaeda's web-silence on the issue. I am motivated to ask: how did the Asia Times know it was really al-Yazid? Was it not unwise for al-Yazid to call the Asia Times, given the NSA can monitor and trace calls? He's in Afghanistan and must have used a satellite phone and the NSA must be all over satellite phones in Afghanistan. There's also the question of how and why al-Yazid had her shot and well as bombed and then induced the Pakistani military to lean on doctors not to give the real cause of death - bullet wound not concussion.

Al-Yazid was also reported to be under house arrest in Iran a year or two after 9/11.
I wonder about the circumstances of his escape.

I note that the unconfirmed claim from al-Yazid was enough for lots of media organisations to report that al-Qaeda did it. Just check this:
It's a report by CNN about the claim, although the body of the report casts doubt of al-Yazid's claim, it's entitled " Officials: Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Bhutto killing." It is not hard to see who would benefit from this type of claim.

btw, for afficianadoes of Saeed Sheikh here is an article of former Alec Station chief Michael Scheuer about al-Yazid. Can you spot the howler?


Found the first article at the Italian site, it's here:

So it does contain original reporting, in contrast to what I wrote. It is written by the same guy, Syed Saleem Shahzad, as wrote the Asia Times article. What seems to have happened is that the man claiming to be Yazid called Shahzad, who is an Asia Times bureau chief and correspondent for the Italians. Shahzad is known to write about this sort of thing, so is a logical choice to be called.

I also see this:
by Evan Kohlmann shortly before the story broke. Presumably Kohlmann got advance word of it.

Another thing is that Shahzad could be making the call up and could have received word in another way, but is claiming it is from a call to disguise his source.