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AP Not Reading Their Own Files

10:49 AM, Jun 13, 2009 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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The Associated Press won a landmark Freedom of Information Act request that led to the release of thousands of pages of documents created at Guantanamo. The files were released in early 2006. Therefore, the press organization has had some time -- more than three years -- to process the documents.

But in its reporting on the transfer of Ahmed Zuhair from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia, this account is apparently the best the AP can do:

A lawyer for Zuhair, Ramzi Kassem, said Friday his client "is elated to be back in his homeland."

Zuhair had been held at Guantanamo since June 2002 and had refused to eat since the summer of 2005. He was force-fed a liquid mix to keep him alive.

U.S. authorities allege Zuhair trained with the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan and belonged to a fighting group in Bosnia in the mid-1990s - allegations denied by his lawyer.

There is no mention of William Jefferson's murder, the car bombing in Mostar that Zuhair was convicted of masterminding, or Zuhair's extreme Takfiri beliefs. Instead, all the AP can muster is that Zuhair allegedly trained with terrorists and belonged to a "fighting group" in Bosnia.

That "fighting group" is called al Qaeda and its affiliates.

You want to know what is wrong with the media's reporting on Gitmo? It is accounts like this. It takes only minimal effort to learn that there is more to Zuhair's story. The AP has no problem finding Zuhair's lawyer, but apparently can't take a few minutes to review the files produced by the U.S. government and released as a result of the AP's own FOIA request.

Kudos to the LA Times for actually doing some reporting on Zuhair and his troubling, to say the least, past.