Not just the hijackers, though. He also apparently recruited Ahmed Ressam, the would-be Millennium Bomber. The feds used enhanced interrogation techniques on him at Gitmo and a military prosecutor decided there wasn’t enough untainted evidence to prosecute him — but not before acknowledging, “Of the cases I had seen, [Slahi] was the one with the most blood on his hands.”
Now he’s going free. Maybe.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a district judge has ordered Mohamedou Slahi – a known al Qaeda recruiter who worked for Osama bin Laden – freed from Guantanamo. The Journal’s account does not explain the judge’s reasoning and the decision was not immediately available online. But the decision is inexplicable in light of Slahi’s notorious track record. There is no doubt that Mohamedou Slahi is one of the worst terrorists held at Gitmo…
During his hearings at Guantanamo, Slahi denied many of the allegations levied against him. But in the context of those denials he also made some important admissions. Slahi admitted that he swore bayat (an oath of allegiance) to Osama bin Laden, and was trained in al Qaeda’s notorious al Farouq camp.
During his first administrative review board hearing, Slahi conceded, “…I was in jihad and I swore bayat to Bin Laden and everything but that was a very long time ago.”
Slahi’s denials at Guantanamo were also not credible. For example, Slahi admitted that he transferred thousands of dollars linked to al Qaeda, but claimed he did not know it was for terrorist purposes. Slahi admitted that he moved the money for a cousin (who is also his brother-in-law, as the two are married to sisters) who called him from a satellite phone linked to Osama bin Laden, but said he did not know bin Laden was involved. Slahi’s cousin is Abu Hafs al Mauritania–a senior al Qaeda theologian and long-time spiritual advisor to bin Laden.
Follow the link for lots more background from ace terror analyst Tom Joscelyn, who notes that U.S. intel had the goods on Slahi long before he was interrogated. If you want to know what precisely they did to him at Gitmo, go here, type in 166 in the page field, and read through to page 171. This isn’t the extent of it, but here’s the key bit:
There’s no way Obama and Holder will sign off on freeing a guy who’s directly connected to 9/11 when they’re mired in negotiations with Congress over closing Gitmo and promising that a decision on where to try KSM is merely “weeks away.” Quoth The One last May, while he stood in front of the Constitution: “I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people,” even if the evidence against them is so tainted as to make them untriable. Slahi is a textbook case; the question is whether Obama will keep his word and try to develop “clear, defensible, and lawful standards for those who fall into this category” or whether he’ll pack Slahi off to Canada or Mauritania or god knows where else in the hope that they’ll lock him up there. In the meantime, I assume they’ll delay by appealing the ruling: Even if they lose and the media has a fainting spell over the techniques applied to Slahi, the White House can blame Bush and celebrate this as a vindication of the due process principle by which untriable archterrorists must be returned to the battlefield.
On a not unrelated note, I’ll leave you with this tidbit from today’s LA Times on how the feds are now thinking of transferring captured jihadis to Bagram in Afghanistan to keep them out of the U.S. court system. Quote:
That the option of detaining suspects captured outside Afghanistan at Bagram is being contemplated reflects a recognition by the Obama administration that it has few other places to hold and interrogate foreign prisoners without giving them access to the U.S. court system, the officials said.
Without a location outside the United States for sending prisoners, the administration must resort to turning the suspects over to foreign governments, bringing them to the U.S. or even killing them.
In one case last year, U.S. special operations forces killed an Al Qaeda-linked suspect named Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in a helicopter attack in southern Somalia rather than trying to capture him, a U.S. official said. Officials had debated trying to take him alive but decided against doing so in part because of uncertainty over where to hold him, the official added.