Even though the U.S. government said that he “was one of three potential pilots recruited by the al Qaeda to carry out a Sept.11-style attack on the U.S. west coast in 2002.”
“Malaysia frees suspected al Qaeda pilot – report,” from Reuters, February 14:
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia has released three men held under suspicion of terrorism, including one believed to be linked to a foiled plot in 2002 to crash an aircraft into a U.S. building, a newspaper said on Saturday.
Syed Hamid Albar, the minister in charge of security, confirmed that the three men linked to the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) militant network, including Malaysian Zaini Zakaria, had been freed on Friday, the Star newspaper reported.
Zaini, who security officials suspected had taken part in a so-called “second-wave” of attacks on the United States following the Sept.11, 2001 attacks, had been detained without trial under Malaysia’s Internal Security Act since 2002.
Syed Hamid did not give further details, the newspaper said. The minister confirmed the report to Reuters but did not give details or say why the men had been freed.
The U.S. government had said Zaini was one of three potential pilots recruited by the al Qaeda to carry out a Sept.11-style attack on the U.S. west coast in 2002. Zaini later backed out of the operation which the U.S. government said they had derailed.[…]
The Jemaah Islamiah has been blamed for a series of bomb attacks around southeast Asia in recent years, including the nightclub attacks in Bali, Indonesia that killed 202 people in October 2002.