Within the past several weeks, scores of suspected terrorists have been arrested or killed in Pakistan, France, and North Africa. Counterterrorism officials in the United States are focusing on the immediate threat, which appears to be a plan to attack European cities simultaneously with explosives and gunmen. But the events themselves provide a snapshot of how countries are cooperating to counter al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the nine years since September 11, the four years since London was attacked, and the two years since terrorists struck Mumbai.
"Robust information-sharing that's occurring back-and-forth across the Pond has contributed to what we know thus far, but there's more to learn," a U.S. official said. "Everyone knows the stakes are high."
The UK has developed what U.S. officials say is a new vein of human intelligence over the past several months and has shared the product with several other countries, including France and Germany. The country's signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, provided the Central Intelligence Agency with data to target Europeans believed to be part of a German-based cell that was plotting the most recent wave of attacks. The CIA, using Hellfire missiles on MQ-9 Reapers, has targeted suspected terrorists congregating in North Waziristan, Pakistan based on the new intelligence. These terrorist suspects include a Nuristani known to the U.S., a Yemeni man who helped facilitate the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in 1998, several German nationals believed to be part of the current plots, and various Pakistanis and Chechens, according to officials.