Monday, December 28, 2009

Al Qaeda bombing planners were released from Guantanamo in 2007

ABC has reported that two of the Al Qaeda leaders responsible for the recent NWA 235 attempted bombing incident were released from Guantanamo in 2007  (photo by Reuters/U.S. Marshal's Service):
Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.
ABC's sourcing is a little vague, but if true, this should give President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder some serious (additional) pause about sending half of the Gitmo detainees back to Yemen.  From Fox News:
The Obama administration is under pressure to consider transferring the dozens of Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay somewhere other than their home country, given Yemen's poor record of keeping terror suspects in prison and the country's growing prominence as a staging ground for attacks.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the attempted attack on a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas. Sources said the suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, traveled to Yemen before the attempt and may have been "vetted for the mission" and supplied with explosive material while there.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration needs to decide what to do with the remaining detainees at Guantanamo Bay, nearly half of whom are from Yemen. Despite concerns, the administration just sent six detainees back to Yemen last week.
But one alternative to Yemen might be next-door Saudi Arabia, which Al Qaeda increasingly is threatening.

Robert Jordan, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the Middle Eastern nation would have a natural "self-interest" in working with the United States on the issue and called the country a reliable partner.

"The Saudis have a pretty good system of sorting out who's who. It's not perfect, but it's going to be a lot more effective than allowing the Yemenis to do what they've done in the past, which is to cast a blind eye at the effectiveness of detention," Jordan said.
The Saudis have a pretty good system?  To be fair, Robert Jordan wasn't aware of the ABC report when he made this, now ludicrous, statement.   It seems like the Saudi "art therapy rehabilitation program" only makes these ruthless terrorists pine for the good old days of their recent radical jihadist "past."

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