The government of Pakistan offered to trade a CIA contractor currently jailed in that country for a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected by U.S. intelligence to be an al Qaeda operative.Gee, what a great ally in the war on terror. Usually only rogue states stoop to holding Americans for the purposes of trading them for convicted terrorists, especially someone like Siddiqui. The woman didn't just shoot at some military and FBI guys, she's a Brandeis trained biologist married to Ammar al-Baluchi, part of the same clan of Baluchis responsible for most of al Qaeda's terror against the United States in the past 18 years. Even Obama wouldn't do that trade.
According to a senior American administration official and a Pakistani official involved in the negotiations to free CIA contractor Raymond Davis, the Pakistani government proposed trading Davis for Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-educated Pakistani neuroscientist currently serving 86 years in federal prison for attempted murder.
What does the outlandish suggestion say? Here are some WAGS, for what they're worth -- 1) they took a long shot hoping Obama would hand over someone most of our people don't know in exchange someone everyone in Pakistan knows, to placate the restive peeps. This doesn't make sense because it would become a big news story there, most likely blowing back on Obama here.
2) they made the offer knowing it would be rejected but still did it to score political points to calm the restive peeps. This is standard operating practice.
3) Mr. Davis is actually someone a lot more important than anyone here has been led to believe and the ISI is trying to gain leverage by dangling him for a big-time AQ plum thinking Obama will panic and accede to demands behind the scenes before the press starts asking questions (I know how funny that sounds--it's just a wag).
4) Mr. Davis doesn't know as much as we think he does and ISI are bluffing by throwing up Siddiqui to make us think it's a behind-the-scenes even trade.
The ABC story suggests that it's only a matter of time before Davis will be released--as soon as the story dies down. If that's the case, 1) why are the Pakis inflaming the story by proposing an emotional trade they know will be rejected, something that they will be reminded of if Davis is simply outright released 'when the story dies down', and 2) if they are saying he'll eventually be released without a trade then why are they holding him now? How the hell can we win a war teamed up with such cunning lunatics? Hopefully Mr. Davis is as comfortable as possible.