While still living in the United States, Abu Ali developed ties to the “paintball jihadists” of northern Virginia, nine of whom have served time in jail. In 2000, he went to study Islam at its source, at the Islamic University of Medina. In May 2003, a terrorist attack in Riyadh left 34 dead, 9 of them Americans; a month later, the Saudis arrested Abu Ali for connections to this crime, incarcerating him until his recent transfer to the United States.
Conservatives focus on the hair-raising news that an Al-Qaeda affiliate had plans to kill the president of the United States. Liberals hardly note this development, focusing instead on the question of whether, while in Saudi custody, Abu Ali was tortured (Justice Department officials call this an “utter fabrication”). Note the editorials in four northeastern newspapers:
· The New York Times: This case is “another demonstration of what has gone wrong in the federal war on terror. …In an undisciplined attempt to wring statements out of any conceivable suspect, American officials have worked with countries like Saudi Arabia.”
· The Washington Post: “the courts need to ensure that no evidence obtained by torture—with or without the connivance of the U.S. government—is used to convict people in U.S. courts.”
· The Baltimore Sun writes (dripping with sarcasm) that, “By unsealing a federal indictment against Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the U.S. government garnered headlines about an alleged terrorist plot, instead of the unexplained imprisonment of an American citizen in Saudi Arabia. … it portrayed Mr. Abu Ali has [sic] someone other than a victim of torture. The government may think its secret is safe. But it isn’t.”
· Newsday’s editorial is titled “Shame on Bush for rights violation.”
Many links in the original. Read it all.