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Al Qaeda's Anthrax Scientist

Malaysia releases a dangerous terrorist from jail.

8:00 AM, Dec 12, 2008 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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Unlike the Saudis, the Yemenis have had no program for dealing with former detainees. Just recently, the Bush administration repatriated Osama bin Laden's former driver, Salim Hamdan, to Yemen. Hamdan has a high profile because of the U.S. court proceedings surrounding his detention, so it would be remarkable if the Yemeni government allows him to find his way back to the battlefield. Then again, terrorists, including those responsible for the USS Cole bombing, have repeatedly escaped custody in Yemen. Perhaps this is why one Guantánamo document notes: "Yemen is not a nation supporting the Global War on Terrorism." We should not, therefore, be confident in Yemen's ability to monitor Batarfi and Nassir should they be repatriated.

During the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan the U.S. learned that al Qaeda was much closer to developing chemical and biological weapons, such as anthrax, than previously thought. And now one of the chief terrorists responsible for that program has been freed. It is at least possible that some of his companions who have been detained at Guantánamo will join him.

Such is the world we now live in. Known terrorists such as Yazid Sufaat are freed and the U.S. depends on foreign nations to ensure that they do not wreak havoc using anthrax or other means on behalf of al Qaeda.

Thomas Joscelyn is the senior editor of the website Long War Journal