Pakistan

Al-Jazeera’s Islamabad Bureau Chief says reserves right to take legal action after NSA put him on terror list

Ahmad Zaidan, Al Jazeera’s Islamabad Bureau chief , ridiculed and spoke out against a leaked document of the National Security Agency which put him on a terror watch list.

Ahmad Zaidan rubbished any speculations that he was a terrorist and was involved in nefarious activities. Zaidan also spoke out against the NSA’s action of putting him on the terror watch list, stating that it was not an act against an individual but of journalism as well. Using the platform of Al-Jazeera’s website to provide his clarification, Zaidan further stated that maintaining links and ties with influential people was part and parcel of a professional journalist’s job.

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“The allegations against me put my life in clear and immediate danger,” argued Zaidan. “Such inaccuracies expose how weak and shallow the work is of those who prepare such documents for the agency (NSA)- that is the real danger the agency faces.”

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In his long reply, Zaidan also recounted how he had been led to meet Osama bin Laden. Ahmad had been willingly whisked away to Kandahar by unknown men from Quetta. After fearing a potential missile or drone attack by the United States army, he met Osama bin Laden at his son Abdallah’s wedding with the daughter of his military commander Abu Hafs al Masri. He further stated that he was the recipient of some of Osama Bin Laden’s videos from 2001 to 2011.

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Zaidan also stated that as a journalist, he deemed it his professional duty to facilitate communication between two warring sides who were unable to reach an amicable solution. He also said that the allegations that stated he was working with both Al-Qaeda and Muslim, were ridiculous since both these organizations were pitted against each other.

In conclusion, he expressed concern at the way the United States government profiled and assessed journalists according to their race.

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