According to the Wall Street Journal, a district judge has ordered Mohamedou Slahi – a known al Qaeda recruiter who worked for Osama bin Laden – freed from Guantanamo. The Journal’s account does not explain the judge’s reasoning and the decision was not immediately available online. But the decision is inexplicable in light of Slahi’s notorious track record. There is no doubt that Mohamedou Slahi is one of the worst terrorists held at Gitmo. (See here for a previous summary of Slahi’s dossier.)
Recruiter for the September 11 attacks
Among Slahi's most notorious recruits were four of the September 11 conspirators, all of whom were members of the infamous Hamburg cell. Slahi’s role in recruiting the Hamburg cell for al Qaeda is explained on pages 165 and 166 of the 9/11 Commission’s final report. Slahi arranged for Ramzi Binalshibh, al Qaeda's point man for the 9/11 operation, and three of his cohorts to travel from Germany to Afghanistan so that they could train in al Qaeda's camps and swear allegiance to Osama bin Laden. Binalshibh's three friends were: Mohammed Atta, Marwan al Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah--the suicide pilots of American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, and United Airlines Flight 93, respectively.
Along with Binalshibh, Shehhi and Jarrah met with Slahi in late 1999. The three originally wanted to travel to Chechnya to fight, but Slahi convinced them to travel to Afghanistan for training first instead. The 9/11 Commission explained:
Slahi instructed them to obtain Pakistani visas and then return to him for further directions on how to reach Afghanistan. Although Atta did not attend the meeting, he joined in the plan with the other three. After obtaining the necessary visas, they received Slahi’s final instructions on how to travel to Karachi and then Quetta, where they were to contact someone named Umar al Masri at the Taliban office.
Following Slahi’s advice, Atta and Jarrah left Hamburg during the last week of November 1999, bound for Karachi. Shehhi left for Afghanistan around the same time; Binalshibh, about two weeks later. Binalshibh remembers that when he arrived at the Taliban office in Quetta, there was no one named Umar al Masri. The name, apparently, was simply a code; a group of Afghans from the office promptly escorted him to Kandahar. There Binalshibh rejoined Atta and Jarrah, who said they already had pledged loyalty to Bin Laden and urged him to do the same. They also informed him that Shehhi had pledged as well and had already left for the United Arab Emirates to prepare for the mission.