Would-Be Terrorist Goes Free

Binyam Mohamed is being transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Great Britain by the Obama administration, where he will be let go. Mohamed is generally being characterized as a martyr due to his claim that after his arrest in Pakistan, he was sent to Morocco, where he was tortured. Whether this is true or not is impossible to say, based on the public record. Al Qaeda instructed its operatives, if captured, to make false claims that they were tortured. Whether this is an instance of such deception or Mohamed was actually abused while in Morocco, we simply don’t know.

What we do know, as Tom Joscelyn points out, is that Mohamed was a dedicated member of al Qaeda who tried to carry out terrorist acts against the U.S.:

According to the U.S. government’s allegations, Osama bin Laden visited the al Farouq camp “several times” after Mohamed arrived there in the summer of 2001. The terror master “lectured Binyam Mohamed and other trainees about the importance of conducting operations against the United States.” Bin Laden explained that “something big is going to happen in the future” and the new recruits should get ready for an impending event.

From al Farouq, Mohamed allegedly received additional training at a “city warfare course” in Kabul and then moved to the front lines in Bagram “to experience fighting between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance.” He then returned to Kabul, where the government claims he attended an explosives training camp alongside Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber.

Mohamed was then reportedly introduced to top al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah. By early 2002, the two were traveling between al Qaeda safehouses. The U.S. government alleges that Mohamed then met Jose Padilla and two other plotters, both of whom are currently detained at Guantánamo, at a madrassa. Zubaydah and another top al Qaeda lieutenant, Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, allegedly directed the four of them “to receive training on building remote-controlled detonation devices for explosives.”

At some point, Padilla and Mohamed traveled to a guesthouse in Lahore, Pakistan, where they “reviewed instructions on a computer … on how to make an improvised ‘dirty bomb.'” …

Zubaydah, Padilla, and Mohamed allegedly discussed the feasibility of the “dirty bomb plot.” But Zubaydah moved on to the possibility of “blowing up gas tankers and spraying people with cyanide in nightclubs.” Zubaydah, according to the government, stressed that the purpose of these attacks would be to help “free the prisoners in Cuba.” That is, Zubaydah wanted to use terrorist attacks to force the U.S. government to free the detainees at Guantánamo.

According to the summary-of-evidence memo prepared for Mohamed’s combatant status review tribunal at Guantánamo, Mohamed was an active participant in the plotting. He proposed “the idea of attacking subway trains in the United States.” But al Qaeda’s military chief, Saif al Adel, and the purported 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), had a different idea. Al Adel and KSM allegedly told Binyam that he and Padilla would target “high-rise apartment buildings that utilized natural gas for its heat and also targeting gas stations.” Padilla and Mohamed were supposed to rent an apartment and use the building’s natural gas “to detonate an explosion that would collapse all of the floors above.”

It may have been this “apartment building” plot that Mohamed and Padilla were en route to the United States to execute when they were apprehended. In early April 2002, KSM allegedly gave Mohamed $6,000 and Padilla $10,000 to fly to the United States. They were both detained at the airport in Karachi on April 4. Mohamed was arrested with a forged passport, but released. KSM arranged for Mohamed to travel on a different forged passport, but he was arrested once again on April 10. Padilla was released and made it all the way to Chicago before being arrested once again.

The gravity of the charges against Mohamed is rarely reported in the media. The Bush administration and U.S. intelligence officials believed he was part of al Qaeda’s attempted second wave of attacks on U.S. soil.

Andy McCarthy has more. Dozens of detainees released from Guantanamo Bay have subsequently returned to terrorism and have been recaptured or killed. It is hard to see any reason to believe that Mohamed will not join them.

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