NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Senior U.S. defense officials say a courier of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian leader of al-Qaida militants in Iraq, was arrested recently in Iraq bearing a message from al-Zarqawi to Osama bin Laden, Fox News reported Monday.
According to the Fox report, Pentagon sources confirmed that the courier was intercepted with the message to be delivered to the al-Qaida chief, believed to be operating along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
The officials didn’t provide the details of what was in the message, but they said that al-Zarqawi has been trying hard to communicate with bin Laden, Fox reported.
U.S. intelligence officials have been poring through a rich lode of information obtained from captured terrorists, including those provided by the Pakistani government following the July 13 arrest of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a 25-year-old computer engineer.
The New York Times reported on Monday that Khan, according to a Pakistani official, was suspected of using and helping operate a secret al-Qaida communications system where information was transferred via coded messages.
According to the report, the system that Khan helped operate relied on Web sites and e-mail addresses in Turkey, Nigeria and the northwestern tribal areas of Pakistan.
The Pakistani official told the Times that Khan told investigators that couriers carried handwritten messages or computer disks from senior al-Qaida leaders hiding in isolated border areas to hard-line religious schools in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province.
Other couriers then ferried them to Khan on the other side of Pakistan in the eastern city of Lahore, and the computer expert then posted the messages in code on Web sites or relayed them electronically, the Pakistani official said.
Khan had told investigators that most of al-Qaida’s communications were now done through the Internet, the official said, according to the Times report.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires