National Security

Obama Releases Guantanamo Terrorist Who Was Trained As 9/11 ‘Suicide Operative’

Photo: REUTERS/Sean Adair

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

An al-Qaida terrorist, who defense officials believe may have been trained to participate in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, is among the most recent detainees released from Guantanamo Bay.

Mohammed al-Ansi was trained as a “suicide operative” for one of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, which that was later aborted. He is also believed to have served as a personal bodyguard to Osama bin Laden and actively fought against U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Like most al-Qaida operatives, Ansi’s terror career began in Afghanistan, where he received advanced combat training after being recruited by a radical Islamic preacher. He was a member of the so-called Dirty 30, a group of captured al-Qaida operatives believed to have been close to bin Laden and possessed crucial intelligence information. Ansi was captured in December 2001 while attempting to flee into Pakistan through the Tora Bora mountains.

Ansi was originally designated by defense officials as “a high risk” to U.S. national security because of his advanced training and close relationship to bin Laden. Regardless, the Obama administration approved his transfer to Oman, which borders Ansi’s home country of Yemen.

The White House has drastically increased the rate of detainee transfers during Obama’s final days in office. The president promised to close the Guantanamo detention facility as a candidate more than 8 years ago, but was stymied by congress. President-elect Donald Trump called for a cessation to the transfers, as the U.S. could not guarantee the detainees would not pose a threat.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence reported in 2015 that between 18 to 30 percent of transferred detainees have returned to terrorism.

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