Al Qaeda is linking up with home-grown terrorists in Pakistan for new attacks on westerners and Gen. Musharraf’s regime, according to this story in The Washington Post. Not all stories about the activities and intentions of terrorists can be believed, but the Post’s is detailed and carries the joint byline of Karl Vick and Kamran Khan. Vick is a staff writer, and an excellent one, but of greater importance is the other byline–Khan’s. He is a stringer (part-timer) for the Post who works in Karachi for The News, a leading Pakistani daily. Khan is one of the best-sourced journalists in Pakistan, with great connections inside the country’s sprawling security apparatus, so whenever I see his byline, whether in the Post or the News, I pay attention. The credibility of a story depends not just on the publication it appears in, but on the reporter who writes it; bylines help me figure out whether I should believe what I am reading.
While I’m on the subject, Salman Rushdie has a useful opinion piece about Kashmir in today’s New York Times. That’s a byline to watch, too.