Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Marc Thiessen: Christmas Day Bombing Attempt Should Make Us Think Twice About the War on Terror

I received an e-mail from Marc Thiessen, giving me the heads up on his new piece at USA Today, "What We Don't Know May Kill Us." The essay is also available at Marc's blog, "My USA Today Column on Gitmo Connection to Northwest Airlines Plot":

The plot to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253 on Christmas Day was, according to multiple news accounts, organized and launched by al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen. ABC News has reported that the Nigerian man who attempted to blow up a plane over Detroit, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, spent a month at an al-Qaeda compound north of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, where he completed training alongside a Saudi al-Qaeda bomb-maker.

Little noted is the fact that the second in command of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — the group that
reportedly trained and deployed Abdulmutallab for his mission to attack the American homeland is a released Guantanamo detainee: Said Ali al-Shihri.While al-Shihri’s specific role has not been determined, it is increasingly clear that the terrorist network he helps lead was behind the attempted Detroit attack.

Known to Guantanamo officials as
Detainee No. 372, al-Shihri was captured on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in December 2001. He denied being a terrorist and claimed to have traveled to Afghanistan two weeks after the 9/11 attacks to deliver money for the Red Crescent. At Guantanamo, he told officials that he had never even heard of al-Qaeda until he arrived in Guantanamo, and declared that “Usama bin Laden had no business representing Islam.” He promised that if released he would return to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, reunite with his family and work in their used furniture store.

Despite evidence that he had trained in an al-Qaeda camp north of Kabul, he was released in 2007 to a Saudi rehabilitation program. But al-Shihri never became a furniture salesman. Instead, last January, he appeared in a series of jihadist videos identified as al-Qaeda’s second in command on the Arabian Peninsula. The New York Times
reported that he is “suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa,” in September 2008.
RTWT at the link. Also, Marc's firm is Oval Office Writers, LLC.

Plus, you know Marc's over the target when Daily Kos profiled him earlier this year (warning: hatred alert), "
Who is Marc A. Thiessen and why is he an apologist for torture?"