AL QAEDA

U.S. Man 'Gold Mine' of Terror Intel

American-born al Qaeda recruit Bryant Neal Vinas, captured in Pakistan late last year, proved to be "an intelligence gold mine," U.S. officials say. He provided a "treasure trove" of information, allowing counterterrorism officials to "peer deep inside the inner workings of al Qaeda," the Associated Press reports. Perhaps most notably, Vinas—who was born in Queens and raised in Long Island—revealed a terror plot to bomb the New York City-area transit system over last year's Thanksgiving holidays, prompting authorities to issue a security warning, and provided information about a suspected militant who was killed in a Predator drone strike, also in November. Following his capture, instead of being thrown into a military prison or a secret CIA facility to be questioned, Vinas was flown back to New York to face justice, the Associated Press points out—a strategy that proved remarkably effective in getting the itinerant terrorist to talk. Vinas' treatment may point to "a new emphasis in the fight against terror, one that relies more on FBI crimefighters and the civilian justice system than on CIA interrogators and military detention."