Gitmo recidivism comes back to bite us directly. “Two al Qaeda Leaders Behind Northwest Flight 253 Terror Plot Were Released by U.S.: Former Guantanamo Prisoners Believed Behind Northwest Airlines Bomb Plot; Sent to Saudi Arabia in 2007,” by Brian Ross, Anna Schecter and Joseph Rhee for ABC News, December 28 (thanks to Awake):
Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.
American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.
An “art therapy rehabilitation program.” Yes, you read that right.
Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.
Both Saudi nationals have since emerged in leadership roles in Yemen, according to U.S. officials and the men’s own statements on al Qaeda propaganda tapes.
Both of the former Guantanamo detainees are described as military commanders and appear on a January, 2009 video along with the man described as the top leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, Abu Basir Naser al-Wahishi, formerly Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary.
In its Monday statement claiming responsibility for the Northwest bombing, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula called bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab a “hero” and a “martyr” and lauded him for beating U.S. intelligence.
The two-page written claim included a photo of Abdulmutallab and boasted of Al Qaeda’s success in designing “advanced explosive packages” that can pass through airport screening undetected.
The statement also asks for attacks upon Americans in the Arabian peninsula, and promises further attacks on the American people.
The suspected bomber, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, told FBI agents he was trained for his Christmas Day mission in Yemen by top leaders of al Qaeda who provided him with the explosive materials.
“The so-called rehabilitation programs are a joke,” a U.S. diplomat said in describing the Saudi efforts with released Guantanamo detainees.
Saudi officials concede its program has had its “failures” but insist that, overall, the effort has helped return potential terrorists to a meaningful life….