Linchpin in hunt for bin Laden back with al-Qaida
WASHINGTON- Former and current U.S. intelligence officials say the terrorist described as the linchpin in the hunt for Osama bin Laden has rejoined al-Qaida.
The Bush administration had released him from a secret CIA secret prison under pressure from Pakistan. The CIA returned al-Qaida operative Hassan Ghul to his native Pakistan where he was held for at least a year before he eventually was released, making his way back to al-Qaida.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because details about Ghul's case remain classified.
Pakistan's decision to free Ghul is yet another troubling revelation in a time when the U.S. is rethinking its relationship with the government in Islamabad.