The Obama administration has released one of al Qaeda’s most skilled explosives experts, a man personally praised by Osama bin Laden and who created the shoe-bomb design that was used unsuccessfully to bring down an airliner in 2001.
It is hard to act surprised at decisions like this in light of the recent downsizing of the Guantanamo population. Al Sawah is one of several new detainees to be released by the Obama administration. He was such a compliant and valuable intelligence asset during his 14 years of captivity that he is afraid to leave the facility, and has in fact refused to leave. He fears for his life if he returns to freedom due to the threat of terror groups who are well aware of his compliance with US authorities.
One particularly interesting aspect of the whole situation is with a detainee refusing to leave, what will the Obama administration do if they move forward with the planned closure of Guantanamo? Will they transfer him to the states at the ire of the majority of US citizens? One thing is for sure, a high-value al Qaeda bomb maker has been freed with no clear reason why.
The Pentagon said Thursday that Egyptian Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed al Sawah, who may have known of the original Sept. 11 plot, was transferred to the government of Bosnia. Al Sawah fought with the Bosnian army in the early 1990s and eventually made his way to Afghanistan in 2000.