DoD to release two AQ detainees from Gitmo with explosives expertise

posted at 2:01 pm on January 21, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

What could go wrong? The Obama administration pushed its project to empty the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to a new level today. CNN’s Jake Tapper reported that the Department of Defense announced the release of a full-fledged member of al-Qaeda to Bosnia — one of the men who presented a threat to commercial airliners before getting captured in 2002 by purportedly inventing the shoe bomb:

The Miami Herald reports that Sawah was one of three men granted release, but only two left:

The Pentagon disclosed Thursday that it sent two Guantánamo captives to start new lives in the Balkins in its continuing efforts to close the prison camps in southeast Cuba.

But in a strange twist, a cleared Yemeni prisoner named Mohammad Bwazir, 35, declined to leave Guantánamo for a nation that offered him sanctuary and was still at the detention center Thursday, dashing Obama administration hopes of downsizing to 90 detainees this month.

Bwazir’s lawyer, John Chandler, said the slight, sometime hunger striker feared going to a country where he didn’t have family. Chandler declined to say which country offered the Yemeni sanctuary — “It’s a country I’d go to in a heartbeat” — but said Bwazir couldn’t bring himself to board the U.S. military flight early Wednesday that delivered detainee Tariq el Sawah, 58, an Egyptian, to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Yemeni Abdulaziz al Swidi, 41, to Montenegro for resettlement.

“He’s been in Guantánamo so long that he was terrified about going to a country other than one where he had family,” Chandler told the Miami Herald. Bwazir understood he couldn’t go home to his native Yemen but wanted to go to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia or Indonesia where he had his mother, brothers or aunts and uncles.

How did Sawah end up at Gitmo? Here’s his CV, courtesy of a once-secret assessment of the captured terrorist made public by Wikileaks:

Detainee is an admitted member of al-Qaida who developed specialized improvised explosive devises (IEDs) for use against US military forces and civilians. These IEDs included the limpet mine to sink US naval vessels and the prototype for the shoe-bomb used in a failed attack on a civilian transatlantic flight. Prior to detention, detainee admitted teaching explosives at the al-Qaida advanced training camp at Tarnak Farm, aka (Abu Ubaydah Camp), where Usama Bin Laden (UBL) personally praised detainee for his “good work.” Detainee is associated with numerous explosives experts including some who remain at large. Detainee also associated with the planners and perpetrators of international terrorist attacks and other senior al-Qaida members, and may have had advanced knowledge of the 11 September 2001 attacks. Detainee participated in hostilities against US and Coalition forces, and is a veteran extremist combatant.

He admitted fighting in the Bosnian war, and apparently Bosnia doesn’t mind having him back again. Sawah fought at Tora Bora and got injured by a cluster bomb, and ended up in the hands of the Northern Alliance for a while before being turned over to the US. Sawah has an interesting, if unusual, record at Gitmo, according to the DoD’s records. He gained over 200 pounds in his first four years of detention, becoming “morbidly obese” and a high-risk detainee for medical reasons. Sawah developed diabetes, liver impairment, and chronic low back pain due to lumbar-related spinal cord compression. 

More interesting his the rest of his executive summary, though:

Executive Summary: Although detainee was occasionally hostile to the guard force and staff earlier in his detention, he has been compliant over the last four years. He continues to be a highly prolific source and has provided invaluable intelligence regarding explosives, al-Qaida, affiliated entities and their activities. If released, detainee will possibly reestablish extremist associations, but is unlikely to do so as his cooperation with the US government may serve to identify detainee as a target for revenge by those associates.

The question for Sawah might be which revenge takes place first — his revenge on the US for keeping him in Gitmo for over 15 years, or AQ’s revenge on him for being so cooperative. They certainly have found this on the New York Times’ website by now. Perhaps Sawah may not be anxious to return home.

The DoD undoubtedly factored this into their decision to release Sawah. At the time of this 2008 report, they rated him a medium risk to return to terrorism, noting that he’d be more likely to steer clear of former comrades than seek them out, but that Sawah was still of high value as an intelligence asset. The Obama administration dropped charges against Sawah in 2012, and then the DoD cleared him for release nearly a year ago. Perhaps it took this long for another country to accept him.

By the way, Sawidi’s assessment in 2008 also noted his expertise in explosives, refused to cooperate in most instances, and ranked his threat level to the US as high. I’m sure he’ll just move back into normal life when he arrives in Montenegro.


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Comments

Man Obama sure loves him some terrorists

The Notorious G.O.P on January 21, 2016 at 2:06 PM

Just implant a GPS homing beacon in each one so the drone can find ’em easier.

platypus on January 21, 2016 at 2:08 PM

Great work, Ed, as always.

cbenoistd on January 21, 2016 at 2:08 PM

By the way, Sawidi’s assessment in 2008 also noted his expertise in explosives, refused to cooperate in most instances, and ranked his threat level to the US as high. I’m sure he’ll just move back into normal life when he arrives in Montenegro Michigan.

Fixed.

HumpBot Salvation on January 21, 2016 at 2:12 PM

Remove their genitalia so they can’t rape anyone at least.

darwin on January 21, 2016 at 2:15 PM

Oh yes, just what the Balkans needs: more terrorists with explosives expertise. How soon until these guys are in Cologne, planting bombs in revenge for German women being offended at all the groping?

rbj on January 21, 2016 at 2:16 PM

He admitted fighting in the Bosnian war, and apparently Bosnia doesn’t mind having him back again.

You mentioned AQ revenge. Maybe the Bosnians have a welcome home par-tay planned for him.

Let’s hope.

BuckeyeSam on January 21, 2016 at 2:17 PM

obama, the traitor to the free world, will release all and hand the keys of the base to the tyrannical Castro brothers.

It’s his ultimate commie gift to the world.

Schadenfreude on January 21, 2016 at 2:22 PM

…maybe if we tackle climate-change, these thugs won’t be so interested in blowing the living sh*t out of us…and find a REAL job…

just ask the Pentagon…they’re ALL over it…

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 21, 2016 at 2:22 PM

When they kill again, and they will…

… Who will be held accountable?

Seven Percent Solution on January 21, 2016 at 2:41 PM

…the DoD is hoping they blow up something before the next election?

JugEarsButtHurt on January 21, 2016 at 2:42 PM

Man Obama sure loves him some terrorists

The Notorious G.O.P on January 21, 2016 at 2:06 PM

Just a Terrorist (to the tune of Just a Gigolo – David Lee Roth/Louis Prima)

I’m just a terrorist
I’m not on any list
Obama backs the part
I’m playing

Paid for every bomb
For me and my dear mom
Every day someone
Betraying

But there will come a day
With no more USA
Then what will they say
About me

When I blow up in a mist
They’ll say just a terrorist
As death goes on
Without me

‘Cause…
I get guns and money
Obama, cares for me,
Obama, supports me

You’ll be sad and lonely
Sad and lonely,
Sad and lonely,
When some sweet mama
Blows to bits for me
Cause I’m really that bad

Get along with me babe,
Or we’ll call you a ‘phobe
All of the time
Moslems only be, Allah only be, only be

Boom bombadee bombadee pow zitty boom

I got guns and money, ’cause
Obama, cares for me,
Obama, Obama

Allahla akbara allahla akbara
Allahla akbara allahla boom

I got bombs and money,
Cause Obama, cares for me
Obama, supports me

You’ll be sad and lonely,
Sad and lonely,
Sad and lonely,
When some sweet mama
Blows to bits for me
Cause I’m really that bad

Get along with me babe,
Or we’ll call you a ‘phobe
All of the time
Moslems only be, Allah only be, only be

I got guns and money,
Cause Obama, Obama
Obama, Obama
Obama, Obama
Obama cares for me

Allahu akky bar badee, da boom!

The Rogue Tomato on January 21, 2016 at 2:44 PM

And I suppose they learned better ways of making bombs while in captivity also.

TerryW on January 21, 2016 at 2:50 PM

The pro-Islam Obama is so blatant in his efforts to help Islam and destroy the west people just don’t believe it.

darwin on January 21, 2016 at 3:03 PM

DoD to release two AQ detainees from Gitmo with explosives expertise

Please release them into the White House.

earlgrey on January 21, 2016 at 3:04 PM

Just implant a GPS homing beacon in each one so the drone can find ’em easier.
platypus on January 21, 2016 at 2:08 PM

Thought that said GPS homing bacon… :)

Marcola on January 21, 2016 at 3:06 PM

So the SecDef is supposed to personally certify that these guys are no longer a threat right? What happens if he’s wrong? Nothing. Therefore it’s a meaningless certification required by Congress. Obama laughs as he cleans out Gitmo and these murderers continue to kill. All the while the Republicans wring their hands in frustration. Idiots.

jnelchef on January 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Isn’t this the same regime who considers American citizens in possession of firearms a greater threat than AQ?

Reuben Hick on January 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Pure, unadulterated insanity.

sadatoni on January 21, 2016 at 3:14 PM

Man Obama sure loves him some terrorists

The Notorious G.O.P on January 21, 2016 at 2:06 PM

Obama is committed to releasing terrorist reinforcements from Gitmo whenever they need them.

ConstantineXI on January 21, 2016 at 3:31 PM

Can we get a live demonstration?

with a vest and everything?

Tell them it’s cheaper than sending them back to the ME to get killed.

We’ll just cut out the middle man right here.

jake1246 on January 21, 2016 at 3:39 PM

Thanks Obama.

Oxymoron on January 21, 2016 at 3:49 PM

I blame the Americans who voted TWICE to give Obama the power to release the Gitmo Detainees!

What were they thinking?

Elections have consequences! Please vote more carefully in the future.

wren on January 21, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Clock-boy isn’t quite as smart at bomb building as they were hoping. He needs a little help, which Barry so thoughtfully supplies.

LegendHasIt on January 21, 2016 at 4:25 PM

There is a “solution” to all this. Don’t take prisoners.

GarandFan on January 21, 2016 at 4:42 PM

So the SecDef is supposed to personally certify that these guys are no longer a threat right? What happens if he’s wrong? Nothing. Therefore it’s a meaningless certification required by Congress. Obama laughs as he cleans out Gitmo and these murderers continue to kill. All the while the Republicans wring their hands in frustration. Idiots.

jnelchef on January 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Only partially correct : nothing happens to SecDef.

Isn’t this the same regime who considers American citizens in possession of firearms a greater threat than AQ?

Reuben Hick on January 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Everybody knows the VRWC is a greater threat than ISIS, too.

Pure, unadulterated insanity.

sadatoni on January 21, 2016 at 3:14 PM

Hard to argue with that.

There is a “solution” to all this. Don’t take prisoners.

GarandFan on January 21, 2016 at 4:42 PM

This has always been a curious feature of Obama’s war policy: release known terrorists because they are a “feature” for jihadi recruiters; but killing them (with collateral damage) somehow doesn’t have the same effect.
I believe he has some rationale (not necessarily a sane one) but I sure don’t know what it is.

PS a sane president, if he thought releases were needed, would put out intel that all of them turned traitor and were being released for good behavior.

AesopFan on January 21, 2016 at 7:12 PM

I believe he has some rationale (not necessarily a sane one) but I sure don’t know what it is.

AesopFan on January 21, 2016 at 7:12 PM

I’ll take “He wants the West to be erased from the face of the Earth” for $200, AF.

clear ether

eon

eon on January 21, 2016 at 8:03 PM

Barry just gave Iran $100+B and now that they’re flush, he’s helping them get the band back together.

AppraisHer on January 22, 2016 at 3:38 AM