U.S. born al-Qaida member reported caught

March 7, 2010 at 7:42 PM
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KARACHI, Pakistan, March 7 (UPI) -- A U.S.-born member of the terror group al-Qaida has been arrested in Pakistan but authorities said it was not Adam Gadahn, as had been previously reported.

The operative, who was taken into custody in recent days in Karachi, was identified as Abu Yahya Mujahdeen Al-Adam, The New York Times reported Sunday. The suspect was said to have been born in Pennsylvania and is suspected of commanding al-Qaida fighters in Afghanistan, U.S. and Pakistani officials said.

The arrest in Karachi follows the arrests of several Afghan al-Qaida senior leaders, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, described as the second-ranking leader in the Afghan Taliban, the Times said. A senior Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Pakistani authorities have granted U.S. interrogators access to question Baradar but he has not provided "any actionable intelligence."

"He's talking to us but we're still in the trust-building phase," the official said.

Sources said earlier Sunday the suspect picked up in Karachi was Gadahn, 31, who was born in Oregon and raised in Southern California, where he converted to Islam. U.S. authorities say Gadahn attended a mosque in Orange County, Calif., before he was banned for assaulting its chairman, and began working for a California charity with suspected ties to al-Qaida in 1997 before moving to Pakistan.

The FBI identified Gadahn in 2004 as part of an al-Qaida cell planning attacks designed to disrupt the presidential election, and put him on its most-wanted list.

A Los Angeles federal grand jury indicted him for treason in 2006. The first American to be so charged in almost 60 years, Gadahn faces the death penalty if convicted. The U.S. government is offering a reward of up to $1 million for his capture, CNN reported.

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