Catch and Release Program

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CNN reports:

Iraqi security forces caught the most wanted man in the country last year, but released him because they didn't know who he was, the Iraqi deputy minister of interior said Thursday.

Hussain Kamal confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—the al Qaeda in Iraq leader who has a $25 million bounty on his head—was in custody at some point last year, but he wouldn't provide further details.

A U.S. official couldn't confirm the report, but said he wouldn't dismiss it.

"It is plausible," he said.

Jim Henley comments: "I had a bad feeling back in 2003 when the TV Guide listing for the Iraq War closed with the words 'Hijinx ensue'…"

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  1. Suddenly season 4 of 24 seems more plausible after all.

    (I’m referring to the part where the terrorist mastermind escapes from our hero 5 times, or 6 if you count when he killed himself so he couldn’t be interrogated.)

  2. Do we think Zarqawi might have had his “get out of jail free” card in his back pocket?

  3. On the bright side, G.W. can point out that this demonstrates civil liberties are improving in Iraq.

  4. Iraqi Patrolman: Hey boss! See this guy here? He’s Number 2 in Al Qaeda! Pretty good, huh?

    Iraqi Police Captain: You idiot! The Number 2 in Al Qaeda has already been captured. This guy’s pulling your leg – let him go.

  5. Iraqi Patrolman: But that’s the number three… hey, are you David Johannsen, who played the film version of Officer Gunther Toody in Car 54, Where Are You?

    Iraqi Police Captain: Don’t forget that I used to be lead singer of the New York Dolls.

  6. They shoulda put his face on a playing card.

  7. Damned liberal, bleeding heart Iraqis.

  8. Josh,
    They did. Trouble was the Get Out of Jail Free image was on the back side.

  9. I bet there’s more to this than simple bungling. I smell corruption/infiltration.

  10. “I bet there’s more to this than simple bungling. I smell corruption/infiltration.”

    What, corruption amongst law enforcement personnel in a developing nation? Inconceivable!

  11. “I bet there’s more to this than simple bungling. I smell corruption/infiltration.”

    Come on, this ain’t New Orleans.

  12. I hope it’s either bungling, or else corruption among the Iraqi police.

    The alternative is something for the tinfoil hat crowd.

  13. Corruption isn’t hard to see. I’m sure Al Qaeda has sent recruits to sign up to be cops just for this eventuality (and others). Why wouldn’t they? It’s the smart thing to do. They don’t even have to worry about bombing them–if their plants die, they die martyrs.

    When your guys don’t wear uniforms, they can wear the other guy’s uniform just as well as anything else.

  14. This is why we can never release any prisoners from Gitmo just because we have no evidence against them — for all we know we could be releasing Zarqawi! 😉

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