London, Asharq Al-Awsat- According to a Saudi security source, British Security officials and their Saudi counterparts are cooperating and exchanging information in their efforts in combating terrorism.
The source who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity cited the case of the shoe-bomber British national Richard Reed who was charged with attempting to blow up a plane en route from Paris to Miami in December 2001.
He said that Saudi security services provided British security agencies with detailed information on Reed, including his background, how he joined the Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, and his nom de guerre, Abd-al-Rahim al-Jamayiki (Jamaican Abd-al-Rahim).
The source noted "The Saudi authorities began to show interest in the Reed case when his arrest was announced following the shoe bomb incident."
He added "When Reed”s picture was published on the front page of Asharq al-Awsat as he was taken into custody in a security vehicle, we were concerned that he might be a duped Saudi national because of his Arabic looks."
He continued: "But after going back to our records, it become apparent that he was the same person whose name in our investigations was Abd-al-Rahim al-Jamayiki. So, we conveyed to the British side all the information we had on him. At the time, the British had no clear idea about him."
The source pointed out that Reed was an unusual person, and according to his associates in Afghanistan, his colleagues used to calm him down with ice cream when he was angry.
Commenting on the persons who the Americans recently handed over to the Saudi authorities after releasing them from the Guantanamo camp, the source said, "It was not the first time we receive persons released from Guantanamo. We received five individuals in the past.
The source added "We continuously send envoys (to Guantanamo) to verify the identity of the Saudi nationals and inquire about their situation. There is confusion on this issue because some individuals claim that they are Saudis while in fact they are not. Others say they are Yemenis or come from states in North Africa, and we later find out that they are Saudis."
The source said: "As a matter of fact, the Saudi nationals who were arrested in Afghanistan and handed over to the Americans suffered through a terrible situation. Some Afghans sold them to US forces immediately after the fall of the Taliban regime. In some cases, the price reached 20,000 US dollars."
The source added: "However, when the Americans had to deal with them and arrested many more who were of no value, the prices began to drop to as low as $500. Then they stopped buying them, and at that point some Afghan drug dealers began to sell them to each other for forced labor in narcotics farms. This happened in the first year after the fall of the Taliban. Afterward, some of them began to travel to Iraq."
The source continued: "According to information obtained from individuals who were sold in Afghanistan, in some cases, Taliban members who switched allegiance after the war against Taliban sold wounded individuals who were being treated in hospitals. The Americans did not directly arrest any Saudi nationals."
The source said: "According to our information, the only Saudi national who the Americans were eager to arrest and paid a lot of money for this purpose was Abdallah Aydah al-Mutrifi, owner of the Wafa charity foundation."
The source explained: "The Americans thought that he was the person who had arranged for Khalid Bin-Awdah al-Harbi or Abu-Sulayman al-Makki to meet with Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. At that famous meeting, Bin Laden openly claimed responsibility for the attacks of September the 11th."
The Saudi security source said it seems that the terrorist attacks in London are part of the Al-Qaeda”s tactic to use people who are not under suspicion. They are the second-generation Muslims who were born, raised, and educated in European countries, he added.
The source noted that Al-Qaeda uses these people after it failed to find Saudi nationals who are not under suspicion, as was the case in the past.
The source expected Al-Qaeda to continue using this tactic until "this card has been burned".