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Know thine enemy

The New York Times carried a story today of an Al Qaeda suspect who managed to slip through the collective fingers of German law enforcement. A Polish immigrant to Germany who had converted to Islam, he was potentially involved with the bombing of a synagogue in Tunisia earlier this year:

Prosecutors overseeing the investigation say that under German law, the evidence tying Mr. Ganczarski to the bombing and his own confession of recent contact with Qaeda leaders were insufficient to keep him under constant surveillance or to prevent him from traveling. They say those limitations are the consequence of a Constitution devised to prevent the reoccurrence of the country's totalitarian past.

The case has caused concern among officials in France and Tunisia involved in an investigation into the Djerba bombing and illustrates the complexities of fighting a global network like Al Qaeda.

Last week, the Tunisian justice minister complained openly about Mr. Ganczarski's departure. "Investigations into the attack on Djerba have moved forward very well, and I hope that the flight from Germany of an accomplice of the suspected perpetrator of the attack will not hamper inquiries," the minister, Bechir Tekkari, told Agence France-Presse.

In a recent interview a high-ranking French official, who insisted on anonymity, expressed frustration that Mr. Ganczarski had not been detained. Under French law, the official said, "he would have been."

Well, everyone seems to be upset at the Germans for letting the (alleged) terrorist get away, and perhaps they're right to be. But perhaps there's another place to which the anger should be directed. After all, it's not as if he stowed away on a freighter bound for South America.
A German man under investigation for links to top figures of Al Qaeda slipped out of the country last month, withdrawing his four children from school, terminating his lease and obtaining visas for Saudi Arabia without attracting any attention from the police, according to German officials.
How long are we going to keep up the pretense that the Saudis are our allies?


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