Freed Gitmo terrorist now network leader

posted at 9:05 am on January 23, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, Barack Obama signed an order pledging to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay within in a year, but without offering a solution for the current detainees.  That little detail takes on a little more significance after today’s report in the New York Times about the career of a released Gitmo inmate.  After getting sprung from Gitmo, Said al-Shihri became a leader of the al-Qaeda network in Yemen:

The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.

The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.

His status was announced in an Internet statement by the militant group and was confirmed by an American counterterrorism official.

“They’re one and the same guy,” said the official, who insisted on anonymity because he was discussing an intelligence analysis. “He returned to Saudi Arabia in 2007, but his movements to Yemen remain unclear.”

The war on terror is no game.  These people intend to kill us in large numbers, and unless we take that seriously, they will succeed.  It’s not the same as using the exclusionary rule to return a burglar to the streets rather than offend tender sensibilities because someone filled out a warrant incorrectly.  Al-Qaeda is not the Gambino crime family, and a law-enforcement approach will not defeat them — as the entire decade of the 1990s proved.

How did Shirhi get released?  He told the Gitmo tribunals that he only traveled to Iran and Afghanistan to get carpets for his family’s store.  The Pentagon’s dossier on Abu Sayyaf showed that he trained at a terrorist camp outside of Kabul, went to Iran to bring extremists into Afghanistan, and wanted to assassinate a writer on which a mullah had placed a fatwa for his writings.  Shihri was fortunate that his review came at a time when the Bush administration was getting enormous pressure to reduce the number of inmates at Gitmo, and Shihri went into the Saudi rehab program.  A year later, Shihri disappeared — and now he’s running the AQ network in Yemen.

Half of the remaining detainees come from Yemen, and would have to be returned to Yemen.  The Yemenis have allowed terrorist suspects to break out of prison or have set them free on their own recognizance repeatedly.  The Yemen branch of AQ has grown, and the addition of more than a hundred Gitmo detainees will only assist in that process.


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factoid on January 23, 2009 at 12:17 PM

I question the timing.
Why would Bush release this info TODAY???
.
.
.
oh, wait..

shooter on January 23, 2009 at 12:34 PM

I only wonder why WHY the democrats
arent hailing this islamic nazi
As their LATEST FREEDOM FIGHTER??????
As the liberals LOVE every mass murdering islamic psychopath
that they come across..

One of these days i warn all liberals
One of these days your own home town
will be blown up
your own school shot up
your own children murdered
by one of these islamic nazis your so in love with
and when you are on the street
Crying over your dead childs body
With tears of horror running down your face..

I will have to say i am so sorry
but i TOLD YOU so ..

jcila on January 23, 2009 at 12:57 PM

What would cause a carpet salesman to join AQ? Why, years of detention on a Caribbean island, of course. If we hadn’t violated his human rights, he would have gone back to peacefully running a store like he did before 9/11.

/sarc

Kafir on January 23, 2009 at 1:26 PM

American libs got their new “Catch and Release” war on terror. I think they will come to regret that, given that their home turf–NYC, DC, LA–is far more likely to be hit by GITMO releasees than is my little home town, which voted against Catch and Release.

james23 on January 23, 2009 at 9:25 AM

Fortunately, we rural & itty-bitty town folks are going to be all that’s left someday. Since living in the city (& off of the govt) takes away a human’s natural desire to protect one-self (remember:they are ‘enlightened’. We are nothing but peasants out here), they will be the ones to go down 1st.
It will take a hell of a fight, but I’m confident we ‘peasants’ will take back the Republic.

My ‘loins’ have been girded for a long time. I got my ammo. I got my food storage.
I am bitterly clinging.

Badger40 on January 23, 2009 at 1:56 PM

… and when you are on the street
Crying over your dead childs body
With tears of horror running down your face..

I will have to say i am so sorry
but i TOLD YOU so ..
jcila on January 23, 2009 at 12:57 PM

That was a beautiful poem. As a mass-mudering-islamo-nazi-loving, treasonous, un-American, commie-pinko, liberal homobortionist, I was deeply touched by your concern.

factoid on January 23, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Al-Qaeda is not the Gambino crime family, and a law-enforcement approach will not defeat them — as the entire decade of the 1990s proved.

Did you read the RAND report on how terrorist groups end? Traditional efforts are MUCH more successful than military efforts. Military efforts only end terrorist groups 7% of the time.

Mark Jaquith on January 23, 2009 at 4:26 PM

Hey, Ed, who released Said al-Shihri from Gitmo? I can flat out guarantee you that it was not President Obama.

Len on January 23, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Did you read the RAND report on how terrorist groups end? Traditional efforts are MUCH more successful than military efforts. Military efforts only end terrorist groups 7% of the time.

Mark Jaquith on January 23, 2009 at 4:26 PM

If you read the Rand study, and not just the summary page, it details “terror” groups from 1968 onward to the present, and while this comprehensive approach to the problem is unique, it has flaws.

Of the nearly 650 “terror” groups studied, how many were intent on suicidal jihad, and how many were politically motivated or were singularly targeted toward a specific national entity? Would Brigata Rosa in Italy be considered on par with Al Qaeda? Or the IRA? Or Shining Path? Or the Tamil Tigers? Would the Karen Movement in Myanmar be of global consequence, or is it merely restricted to local banditry within Myanmar?

Not all terrorist groups are the same, in methods, ideology, purpose, dedication, organization, leadership, goals, or means to achieve those goals.

Would effective police practices lessen the danger of Hamas as compared to Beider-Meinhof?

Of the percentage brought down by effective police and criminal prosecution efforts, how many were jihadi in structure or core beliefs?

Of those ended through victory…which ones were so fortunate? And what was the ultimate cost to the targeted population or national entity for that victory?

The Rand study does hypothesize that AQ is resilient, thus must require a rethinking on our part as to how to deal with them. This begs the question, has military action over the past 8 years enabled a more effective and unified Al Qaeda or a more fragmented Al Qaeda? Has Al Qaeda been able to maintain its infrastructure worldwide, or has it moved from a terror group to a terror movement? Further, has military action against AQ strengthened or lessened AQ’s ability to maintain the active support of local populations in those regions it once was able to move with impunity?

There are other flaws in the Rand report, but the over all initial data is thorough, but the amalgamation of vastly dissimilar terror groups (political/criminal/religious/ethnic) into a homogeneous unit for extrapolation of data points is flawed from the start.

If Rand wishes to do a study solely on jihadi terror groups, what will be the outcome?

coldwarrior on January 23, 2009 at 5:14 PM

For a more comprehensive data base of terror groups worldwide, I suggest a visit to START which has a large alphabetical listing of worldwide terror groups, location, actions, and status, and, importantly, motivation or goals. There are many many small, yet effective in garnering publicity groups, that may comprise perhaps a few dozen followers, to larger national groups of several thousand, and various permutations of AQ and AQ-like groups.

Makes for interesting reading.

coldwarrior on January 23, 2009 at 5:37 PM

Islamic terrorists were unable to destroy the World Trade Center in 1993. They tried again and were successful in 2001. But their plots to destroy the Capitol, White House and Pentagon were foiled. What makes the fools in Washington so confident that Al Qaeda won’t target the capital again? Releasing this scum may be tantamount to signing their own death warrants.

Disturb the Universe on January 23, 2009 at 6:21 PM

Yep. More to come.

Worst part is the lives lost and risked capturing them in the first place. Lovely.

johnnyU on January 23, 2009 at 7:17 PM

P.S. On Thursday January 29th, Blog Talk Radio will have a tag team marathon of shows dedicated to supporting the men and women at Gitmo, “Salute to Gitmo Heroes”.

Lots of great guests have already volunteered: Debra Burlingame, Gordon Cucullu, Lt. Col. Bill Russell and more!

Don’t miss it!

HonestConservative on January 23, 2009 at 7:57 PM

Bush was too weak and too dishonest to name Islam as the danger and threat, and did not fight to have these Gitmo scum shot immediately as “spies, saboteurs and terrorists” as is permitted by the Third Geneva Convention which defines POW status.

Obama is even more deadly to our security, since he grew up in Islam and now lies about its sanctified malignant ideology of imperialistic theocratic terror.

Only if jihadists target the Muslim apostate Barry O. may we have some hope for defeating these murderous maniacs.

profitsbeard on January 23, 2009 at 8:27 PM

Um, he was released in 2007.

I call bs.

getalife on January 23, 2009 at 8:35 PM

Um, he was released in 2007.

I call bs.

getalife on January 23, 2009 at 8:35 PM

Why?

Hundreds and hundreds of Gitmo detainees have been released since Camp X-Ray was set up and Camp Delta, a more modern prisoner-friendly facility, was built.

Are you saying the NONE of the Gitmo detainees should ever be released, or are you somehow trying to say that al-Shirhi ending up in Yemen is all Bush’s fault?

I’d fault the civil courts intrusion into military matters based on popular “feelings” rather than on actual points of law as being responsible for the premature release of detainees, and the public and political clamor to somehow prove that the detainees were all simply innocent victims of an unjust Administration.

But call bs? Precisely why?

coldwarrior on January 23, 2009 at 8:50 PM

Captain Peter Husta
GTMO APO AE 09360

It is so easy, please take the time to do it.

HonestConservative on January 23, 2009 at 5:22 PM

I apologize if the web site you linked explains the answer to my question, but why send to him in particular? Will he distribute them to the troops at Gitmo?

Red State State of Mind on January 23, 2009 at 9:47 PM

Eventually, the “told you so” here will be dead Americans.

What a shame.

Hawkins1701 on January 24, 2009 at 12:37 AM

No, even if I explained it well, its hard to wrap your head around.

You cannot send anything to a generic “Any soldier” or the like.

Captain Peter Husta has personally taken on the responsibility to secure all of the letters and packages and destribute them.

I cannot explain the system, I just know that this way works. I suspect that the system exists the way it does to protect our men and women and if this is what must be done to affect a good result, then so be it.

Thank you for asking Red State State of Mind. When you find a nice comfy, red state with a beach, let me know.

HonestConservative on January 24, 2009 at 1:56 AM

When the next terrorist act occurs and the shock of it all hits these lefties they will appear with tears running down their faces crying out for someone to talk to these people. Yeah, that’ll work but they still wont believe they want to kill all of us. If the terrorists would just say that they are sorry.

mixplix on January 24, 2009 at 4:54 AM

The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the utter lunacy of the executive order President Obama signed Thursday

Corrected.

Basilsbest on January 24, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Easy problem to solve. The military just needs to take less prisoners.

Correct English is fewer not less. Not to quibble but the destruction of the English language is making us less able to defend against Islamofascism.

If you can count the subject matter of what you are referring to as less, use the word fewer.

And let’s stop referring to this as the war on terror but rather The Defense Against Islamic Terror. Islamic terror is one of the three ways in which Islam is now being inexorably spread. The other two are the very intelligent use of political correctness to demand accomodations to Islam and breeding.)

Basilsbest on January 24, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Hundreds and hundreds of Gitmo detainees have been released since Camp X-Ray was set up and Camp Delta, a more modern prisoner-friendly facility, was built.

According to Fox News -as recalled by me- the number released is 560; the number who are known to have returned to Jihad is 62 and the number remaining is 245. (The number of idiot appeasers now occupyting the White House and playing the role of CIC is ONE.)

The 245 now in custody are the worst of the worst who have failed to convince our protectors that they weren’t terrorists or have not renounced terrorism. Those little deatils are no longer of any consequence. Obama’s prefers to symbolically bash Bush even at the risk of endangering the people he is by law required to protect.

Obama’s not 15 but you wouldn’t know it from this announcement which by itself is sure to enhance al Qaeda recruitment.

BTW, great post by Mr. Ed Morrisey: IMHO, one of his best.

Basilsbest on January 24, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Correct English is fewer not less. Not to quibble but the destruction of the English language is making us less able to defend against Islamofascism.

I totally agree, but isn’t Islamofascism a bit redundant? It’s rather like saying “stupid idiot.” Islam is by its very nature fascist.

Disturb the Universe on January 24, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Islam is by its very nature fascist.

At its roots, this is indeed true, but with one billion practitioners – most of whom are ignorant of the Koran – and who aren’t themselves fascist, modifications, and the use of modifiers, are necessary.

Muslims need to be challenged about the tenets of their religion. The laws against apostasy -the justification for killing infidels- is a good palce to start.

Basilsbest on January 24, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Muslims need to be challenged about the tenets of their religion.

Ask Gert Wilders how well that is working out. He did just that and now faces hate crimes prosecution in the Netherlands.

So did Theo Van Gogh. He was murdered.

Islam is by its very nature fascist.
At its roots, this is indeed true

It is true not only at its roots but also throughout the entire tree…trunk, branches, leaves and all.

Disturb the Universe on January 24, 2009 at 12:18 PM

one billion practitioners – most of whom are ignorant of the Koran – and who aren’t themselves fascist

I keep hearing this, but I’m not buying it.

Disturb the Universe on January 24, 2009 at 12:24 PM

What aren’t you buying? Given the naivite of the west, if it were not true that most practitioners of Islam aren’t fascist the world would already be smoldering.

Basilsbest on January 24, 2009 at 1:40 PM

What aren’t you buying? Given the naivite of the west, if it were not true that most practitioners of Islam aren’t fascist the world would already be smoldering.

Basilsbest on January 24, 2009 at 1:40 PM

May I recommend:

Robert Spencer’s Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam Is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs

Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within

Paul Sperry’s Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington

Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan

Just because a Muslim isn’t a Jihadi doesn’t mean he doesn’t applaud their goals. There are many roads to a worldwide Caliphate, and Muslims are nothing if not patient.

If they don’t bring the West to its knees through terrorism, they will through hate crimes intimidation and out breeding.

Disturb the Universe on January 24, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Thank you for asking Red State State of Mind. When you find a nice comfy, red state with a beach, let me know.

HonestConservative on January 24, 2009 at 1:56 AM

Thanks, HC. Two things:

“Cigars” jumped out at me. I’m going to work on a package to send to him to districute. I hang out at a local cigar shop, and the guys there are great (& many are Vets). I’ll see if some of the other guys can pitch in too so we can send something nice.

Regarding that beach, I live in the foothill of the Appalachians, so if Al Gore is right I am sitting on eventual beach front property. I’m just waiting for the ‘big thaw’ and then I’ll open up a beachside resort. Consider yourself invited!

Red State State of Mind on January 24, 2009 at 3:12 PM

I am sick of this hope n change crap
What it really means is
Liberals are so desperate to feel loved
they are willing to surrender to their new islamic nazi overlords in order to appease them,.,.

Well lets see we gave them a home
free health care
counseling
mental health evals
Relgious traing (where in the heck is the aclu when you need those anti christian bastards).
And then a free plane ticket home

and for all of that liberal love
They go right back out and start screaming
jihad jihad and then blow themselves up again??

dont these islamic ingrates realize they are making the messia LOOK BAD?>?

jcila on January 24, 2009 at 6:57 PM

For the legal wonks out there, perhaps looking over

“JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, et al. v. EISENTRAGER, alias EHRHARDT, et al, 1950,”

may make the legal status of the detainees more clear, and, at the same time, shsow why Gitmo and not, for instance, the Navy Brig in South Carolina.

coldwarrior on January 25, 2009 at 3:18 AM

Could this be the new Gitmo?

New prison and strange happenings in the Arizona desert..

eaglesdontflock on January 25, 2009 at 11:54 AM

Here’s a better way to appease both Speaker Pelosi, our mental midgets on the left and Entertainment Tonight:

Big Brother Alcatraz: Escape Pelosi Island!

I threw this together last week, please enjoy.

cannonball on January 25, 2009 at 6:51 PM

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