John Brennan Is Still Wrong on Gitmo Detainee
8:12 AM, May 13, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
A recently leaked threat assessment prepared at Guantanamo draws into question the Obama administration’s analysis of a detainee who was transferred to Yemen shortly before all future transfers to the unstable nation were suspended.
On December 19, 2009, the Obama administration transferred six Guantanamo detainees to Yemen. One of them was a longtime confidante of Osama bin Laden named Ayman Batarfi. The decision to transfer Batarfi proved to be controversial.
Less than one month after the transfer, during a congressional briefing on January 13, 2010, Congressman Frank Wolf questioned President Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, about the decision to transfer Batarfi. Wolf was especially perplexed since military and intelligence officials had concluded that in addition to being a longtime, committed jihadist with ties to the most senior al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, Batarfi also had knowledge of al Qaeda’s anthrax program.
Brennan decided to answer Wolf’s challenge by sending a letter on White House stationary to then-House speaker Nancy Pelosi on February 1, 2010. ABC News obtained a copy of the letter and published it online. Brennan wrote:
But a recently leaked April 29, 2008 threat assessment prepared by Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) contains numerous references to Batarfi’s ties to al Qaeda’s anthrax program. These connections were made through a known al Qaeda front named al Wafa, which employed Batarfi and provided cover for al Qaeda’s pre-9/11 pursuit of an anthrax capability.
The leaked assessment contains these lines in its executive summary (note: “Detainee” refers to Batarfi):
Yazid Sufaat was, in fact, al Qaeda’s chief anthrax scientist. Another passage reads (emphasis added):
In still another passage, intelligence officials explained (emphasis added):