BEIRUT

Middle East

Danish agent paid by CIA in Awlaki bride plot: report

A clip from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) focusing on slain Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. (File - AFP Photo/Site Intelligence Group)

COPENHAGEN: Denmark's intelligence agency PET on Monday declined to comment on a claim by one of its ex-agents that he paid $250,000 by the CIA to arrange a bride for top Al-Qaeda official Anwar al-Awlaqi in a plot to kill him.

Ex-PET agent Morten Storm told Jyllands-Posten that he was given a suitcase with $250,000 (193,000 euros) in cash after arranging for a Croatian woman to travel to Yemen so that she could become the Al-Qaeda operative's third wife.

"The goal was to find someone like him, with the same ideology and mentality," Storm said in a video interview published on Sunday on the paper's website.

The 36-year-old Muslim convert said he found the prospective bride, Aminah, through a Facebook group and met her in Vienna in March 2010.

In June that year she travelled to Sanaa, unaware that her bag was fitted with a tracking device that could have made her and Awlaqi the target of a US drone strike, the Danish double agent claimed.

The plot fell apart after she left Sanaa to meet her future husband without taking the bugged suitcase.

A drone killed Awlaqi, a US citizen, and several other Al-Qaeda fighters on September 30 last year in northern Yemen.

Storm said last week that PET was instrumental in locating the Al-Qaeda leader for the CIA, prompting criticism of the Danish agency.

Legal experts in Denmark suggested it may have acted illegally by helping the CIA kill a suspect, instead of arresting him and putting him on trial.

PET on Monday declined to comment on Storm's story, referring instead to a statement issued last week, where it said PET "neither can nor will publicly confirm whether specific individuals have been used as sources".

PET director Jakob Scharf denied the earlier allegations last week.

He said that when cooperating with authorities in other countries, PET "is extremely attentive towards not supplying information or acting in a way that in itself could permit an operation with the aim of killing a civilian."

 

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