Senate Report on CIA Torture
The United Kingdom "Urban Targets" Plots and Dhiren Barot Capture
Dhiren Barot, who also went by the alias "Issa al-Hindi," was “the ‘operational manager’ for al-Qa’ida in the United Kingdom.” He was involved in developing two plots that became known collectively as the “Urban Targets” plots: the “Gas Limos Project” and the “Radiation (Dirty Bomb) Project.” The Gas Limos project “envisioned parking explosives-laden courier vans or limousines in underground garages.” The Radiation Project “proposed using 10,000 smoke detectors as part of an explosive device to spread radioactive element contained in the detectors.” Both plots were thwarted with the capture of Barot and his associates in August 2004.
CIA Director Michael Hayden represented to the Senate Intelligence Committee on April 12, 2007, that “[Khalid Shaikh Mohammed] … provided the first lead to [Dhiren Barot].” The CIA separately cited the “identification and/or arrest of Dhiren Barot, and/or the disruption of his U.K. plotting, as an example of how ‘[k]ey intelligence collected from HVD (High Value Detainee) interrogations after applying interrogation techniques’ had ‘enabled [the] CIA to disrupt terrorist plots’ and ‘capture additional terrorists.’” The “CIA specifically highlighted the waterboard technique in enabling the ‘disruption of [Dhiren Barot’s] sleeper cell'” and said that “intelligence acquired from the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques was ‘otherwise unavailable’ and ‘saved lives.’”
However, the information that led to the capture of Dhiren Barot and the thwarting of the “Urban Targets” plots in fact “all came from intelligence sources unrelated to the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.” The plots were actually disrupted through a combination of “the efforts of U.K. law enforcement … [a review of computer hard drives] … [collected communications], and reporting from detainees in the custody of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. military, and a foreign government.” Following a July 2004 raid in Pakistan, another al Qaeda operative, Abu Talha al-Pakistani revealed to a “foreign government” Dhiren Barot’s role in al Qaeda. Information on the Urban Targets plots was discovered in the raid, which “resulted in the arrest of Dhiren Barot.” Barot’s arrest and the arrest of his associates, all by the U.K. authorities in August 2004, thwarted the plots. The U.K “informed the CIA that the criminal charges against Barot and his co-conspirators ‘were mainly possible owing to the recovery of terrorist-related materials during searches of associated properties and vehicles following their arrests.’”
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) did provide some information about Barot. However, this was “provided within a larger body of fabricated reporting” and the CIA was unable to distinguish between the accurate and fabricated information provided by KSM. Barot is currently serving a 30-year sentence in the United Kingdom.