We caught Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi in transit to Iraq a week ago, but the news has just been released. Apparently al-Masri hasn't cut the mustard, as al-Iraqi meant to take over al-Qaeda operations in Iraq and push back against the joint US-Iraq effort (via Mac at Heading Right):
The United States has taken into custody a top al-Qaeda operative who plotted to assassinate Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and other officials, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday.
Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi, who was taken to the US navy prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba about a week ago, was intercepted while trying to reach Iraq to take over Al-Qaeda operations and to plot attacks from there against western targets outside Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
He is "one of Al-Qaeda's highest ranking and senior operatives at the time of his detention. He is associated with leaders of extremist groups allied with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and including the Taliban," Whitman said.
It's a good thing we're committed to staying in Iraq, isn't it? Because if we left, then we couldn't catch AQ commanders before they had a chance to get situated in Iraq and start killing people by the dozens.
UPDATE: The Weekly Standard has more:
While in Pakistan, al-Hadi directed cross-border military operations against U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. Al-Hadi also served as a conduit between al Qaeda in Iraq, the Taliban and al Qaeda senior command operating inside Pakistan. He was behind the assassination attempts against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
"'Abd al-Hadi was known and trusted by Bin Ladin and Ayman al-Zawahiri," notes the Department of Defense. He was "in direct communication with both leaders and, at one point, was Zawahiri's caretaker. 'Abd al-Hadi also interacted with other senior al Qaeda planners and decision makers, such as Khalid Shaykh Muhammad and Abu Faraj al-Libi, and deceased al Qaeda members Hamza Rabi'a and 'Abd al-Rahman al-Muhajir."
Al-Hadi's capture and subsequent interrogation will likely yield significant intelligence on al Qaeda's global operations, and specifically operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. Al-Hadi was a vital link in al Qaeda's global network, who possesses knowledge on al Qaeda's training, communications, personal ties and operations in the critical theaters of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Al-Hadi's knowledge of al Qaeda's command structure inside Pakistan will be of particular interest, as the U.S. believes Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri and other al Qaeda senior leaders are operating from command centers in Waziristan and Bajaur.
He'll be valuable if he talks. Either the interrogators got a lot out of him in a week, or they've decided that they can't get anything useful out of him at all. Otherwise, they wouldn't tip off AQ by letting them know he's been captured.
Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was captured by the CIA as he was attempting to travel back to his native country, Iraq. He was going to Iraq, officials say, to “manage” al Qaeda’s operations, including plots on Western interests outside of Iraq.
He was captured by the CIA in late 2006…
During his time with the CIA, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was interrogated and revealed useful information about al Qaeda plots, which, officials say, have been disrupted as a result.
Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi had met with al Qaeda members in Iran, officials also said.
So AQ is not only in Iraq but also in Iran. That headline at TalkLeft seems a bit ... outdated. Also, this answers the question about timiing -- they've had him for several months now, and have just transferred him to Gitmo.