Ex-Gitmo detainees behind plane plot

Ex-Gitmo detainees behind plane plot

In all, four al-Qaeda leaders based in Yemen are said to be behind the failed plot by Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up the Northwest Airline plane from Amsterdam to Detroit.

“Guantanamo prisoner number 333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner number 372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on November 9, 2007,” according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Both are Saudi nationals but now are based in Yemen as al- Qaeda leaders.
‘Art therapy’

ABC News reported that these two Guantanamo detainees were sent to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation programme” and were later set free, according to the US and Saudi officials.

“The so-called rehabilitation programmes are a joke,” a US diplomat was quoted as saying, describing the Saudi efforts with released Guantanamo detainees.
Saudi officials concede its programme has had its “failures” but insist that, overall, the effort has helped return potential terrorists to a meaningful life, the news channel said.

A US counterterrorism official said that two former Gitmo prisoners are among the leaders of al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula. These two prisoners were released under the Bush administration in 2007.

“I think that is a very plausible scenario, that people released from Gitmo are now active on the battlefield again,” said Congressman Peter Hoekstra, Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee.
“I am concerned about the Obama administration, because they have taken a more aggressive approach in terms of trying to move people from Gitmo so that they can close that facility,” said the Congressman.
Of the last 200 individuals left at Guantanamo, it is estimated that 80 to 90 of these individuals have ties to Yemen.

“I think sending these people back to Yemen would be a huge problem, regardless of the rehabilitation programme that they go through. I think many of them would find their way back onto the battlefield. I think this administration has to rethink it,” he said.
“And they can learn from the mistakes that were made perhaps by the previous administration,” Hoekstra said.