Obama Admin Releases Al Qaeda Explosives Expert from Gitmo

Guantanamo Bay / AP
January 21, 2016

The Defense Department said Thursday that it has transferred two more prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, one of whom admitted to being a member of al Qaeda and developed explosives for the terror group to target U.S. military personnel and civilians.

The Hill first reported the transfer of Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed al-Sawah to his home country of Bosnia. Al-Sawah developed explosives and taught al Qaeda operatives how to use them, according to his file, which was published by the New York Times

"Detainee is an admitted member of al-Qaida who developed special improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for use against U.S. military forces and civilians. These IEDs included the limpet mine to sink U.S. naval vessels and the prototype for the shoe-bomb used in a failed attack on a civilian transatlantic flight," the Defense Department file read.

"Prior to detention, detainee admitted teaching explosives at the al-Qaida advanced training camp at Tarnak Farm, aka (Abu Ubaydah Camp), where Usama Bin Laden (UBL) personally praised detainee for his ‘good work.’"

The file further noted that al-Sawah is associated with several explosives experts, some of whom are still at large, in addition to senior al Qaeda operatives and individuals behind international terrorist attacks. He also may have possessed "advanced knowledge" of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.

The file also labeled al-Sawah a "veteran extremist combatant." Officials noted that al-Sawah would "possibly reestablish extremist associations" if released, but deemed it unlikely given the extent to which he cooperated with the U.S. government by providing intelligence regarding explosives and al Qaeda’s activities.

Al-Sawah’s release is part of a larger effort by the Obama administration to shutter the military prison at Guantanamo Bay before the president leaves office. Several prisoners have been transferred in recent weeks, whittling the prison population down to less than 100.

Earlier in January, the administration transferred a Guantanamo detainee who previously threatened to cut the throats of Americans upon his release.

Published under: Barack Obama , Terrorism