JANUARY 10, 2014
The Al Qaeda terrorist—Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguard—determined to be “too dangerous to be released” from Guantanamo just a few years ago will be freed from the military prison because President Obama’s new parole board found he no longer poses a “significant threat to the United States.”
The shocking about-face comes on the heels of mainstream news reports disclosing that a former Guantanamo detainee, Sufian bin Qumu, participated in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Libya. Bin Qumu was released from the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba despite having historic ties to the Al Qaeda network and training at bin Laden’s Torkham camp, according to information obtained from his Gitmo file.
That makes this week’s news that bin Laden’s former bodyguard, Mahmud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid, will soon be free, all the more outrageous. It was not that long ago—in 2010—that an Obama task force listed Mujahid as too dangerous to release from Gitmo. That put him on a special “forever prisoner” list of 48 indefinite detainees. His Pentagon file says he’s a high risk likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies and that he is of high intelligence value.
The defense document also says Mujahid is a member of Al Qaeda who served as a body guard for bin Laden for one year and that he has familial ties to Al Qaeda members, including other bin Laden bodyguards and Gitmo detainees. He traveled to Afghanistan in late 1999 or early 2000 for jihad and received militant training at the Al Qaeda al-Faruq training camp, the file says.
“Detainee is a committed jihadist who received theological training from, and was recruited by, radical Yemeni shaykhs who continue to recruit Yemeni youth to participate in hostilities against US and coalition forces. Detainee’s assessed commitment to jihadis supported by his discussions with another JTF-GTMO detainee on methods to conduct suicide during detention.”
Yet soon he will be freed to his native Yemen because Obama promised to close the military prison. Gitmo still houses 155 men and the president created a special parole panel, a six-member Periodic Review Board, to essentially clear out the facility. Mujahid is the first prisoner to be considered by the panel, though dozens of Gitmo detainees have already been approved for release to meet the demands of the leftist groups that have long called for the facility to shut down.
Obama’s special Periodic Review Board found that Mujahid’s “continued law of war detention is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the United States,” according to a Pentagon announcement. Therefore Mujahid is “eligible for transfer subject to appropriate security and humane treatment conditions.” No further information was offered on the drastic change in this prisoner’s assessment.
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