The Obama administration has released one of al Qaeda’s most skilled explosives experts from Gitmo — the man who created the shoe-bomb design that was used unsuccessfully to bring down an airliner in 2001. He was also personally praised by Osama bin Laden.
According to The Washington Times, the Pentagon said Thursday that Egyptian Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed al Sawah, who may have known of the original September 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. Like other members of al Qaeda, al Sawah began his terrorism career as a member of the secretive Muslim Brotherhood, which is present in the U.S.
In his terrorism career, he was close to bin Laden and taught classes in explosives at the al Qaeda leader’s Tarnak Farms training camp.
In Afghanistan al Sawah developed a mine to sink U.S. ships and the shoe-bomb prototype that Richard Reid attempted to ignite while on a flight from Paris to Miami in December 2001.
Joint Task Force Guantanamo judged al Sawah to be a “medium” risk to U.S. troops and recommended him for transfer.
The publicized file may prove a problem for al Sawah on the outside since he’s became an “exceptional” intelligence source, which could cause terrorists to seek revenge.
“He has been compliant over the last four years,” the file says. “He continues to be a highly prolific source and has provided invaluable intelligence regarding explosives, al-Qaida, affiliated entities and their activities. If released, detainee will possibly reestablish extremist associations, but is unlikely to do so as his cooperation with the U.S. government may serve to identify detainee as a target for revenge by those associates.”
His release brings the prison population, once at more than 700, to 92, including Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
President Obama plans to close the prison and bring whoever is left at Gitmo to an American prison. However, Republican House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says Mr. Obama would be violating federal law, which prohibits the action.