NYC Pharmacy Chain Owner Could be Al-Qaeda Agent: U.S. Document

A leaked U.S. document suggests that the owner of several drug stores in New York City could be an al-Qaeda agent with knowledge of anthrax, Mother Jones reported on Monday (see GSN, April 26).

The tranparency organization WikiLeaks has made public hundreds of documents with information on suspected extremists held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

One document states that a person held since 2003 had a diary with details on how to reach a "possible al-Qaeda anthrax operative" said at the time to reside and own a number of pharmacies in New York City.

The man's name was included in the document, but was not stated by Mother Jones as he could not be reached directly to address the assertion included in the U.S. document. The article notes that the validity of the claim linking the man to the terror network could not be determined.

The 2008 U.S. document says the name of the Pakistani-born entrepreneur was cited in a paper discovered at an al-Qaeda location in his home nation, seemingly connected to an allusion on a vaccine for anthrax, which is considered a potential bioterror agent. A calendar retrieved from one possible militant contained unspecified information connecting the businessman to biological weapons activities.

The suspect held at Guantanamo Bay said the pharmacy owner was a longtime acquaintance and an operative for a Taliban-backing organization active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Internet information indicates the man owns no fewer than four drug stores around New York City. A call to one location reached a man who said he was the brother of the owner, who he said had returned to Pakistan.

A woman in Pakistan who said she was the businessman's wife said no U.S. official had ever made contact on the matter. The FBI said it would not address assertions made in leaked papers (David Corn, Mother Jones, May 9).

May 9, 2011
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A leaked U.S. document suggests that the owner of several drug stores in New York City could be an al-Qaeda agent with knowledge of anthrax, Mother Jones reported on Monday (see GSN, April 26).