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The Yemen connection

The abbreviated interrogation of Christmas day bomber Umar Abdulmutallab brought to light his training by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Abdulmutallab’s interrogation should have continued until he gave up all useful information in his possession regarding the outfit and its plans. Unfortunately, however, the Obama administration saw fit to read him Miranda warnings, provide him a lawyer and let him exercise his putative right to remain silent. He is to be tried in federal district court in Detroit like a common criminal. Forgive me for repeating that it is not too late to transfer Abdulmutallab to the custody of the Department of Defense as an enemy combatant and resume his interrogation.
Last week the New York Times reported that the Tennessee man accused of killing a soldier outside a Little Rock military recruiting station last year has asked to change his plea to guilty. Accused killer Abdulhakim Muhammad (formerly Carlols Bledsoe) now calls the shooting “a Jihadi Attack” and claims that he is affiliated with the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Wall Street Journal aggregates related commentary here.
Muhammad’s claim of the connection to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is plausible. He spent some 16 months in Yemen starting in the fall of 2007, according to the Times, “ostensibly teaching English and learning Arabic.” He married a woman from south Yemen and was also imprisoned there for several months because he overstayed his visa and held a fraudulent Somali passport.
The Yemen connection figures in the case of Major Hasan. Yemen was the home base of Hasan’s spiritual guru, Anwar al-Awlaki. The Yemen connection also holds the key to the case of Abdulmutallab.
At the end of its article the Times mentions the report by the Democratic staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee disclosing that as many as 36 American Muslims who were prisoners have moved to Yemen in recent months, ostensibly to study Arabic. One wonders where they received their scholarships. The Times also notes that several of these studious ex-convicts may also have linked up with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Annie Jacobsen briefly comments on the committee report in a good Pajamas Media column. There seems to be a pattern here, and it is one on which Abdulmutallab might be able to shed some light if the administration came to its senses.

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