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Spinning Zubaydah

7:30 PM, Jun 16, 2009 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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Right. Osama bin Laden's travel facilitator, and the man who dispatched Ressam for the millennium bombings, wanted passports for "personal matters," not terrorist attacks. This is absurd on its face, as is Zubaydah's claim that the CIA determined he was not a master al Qaeda terrorist.

Ressam also talked about how he and others were trained to select targets on behalf of al Qaeda. Again, Zubaydah had a not-so creative explanation. After claiming that he disapproved of the September 11 attacks (which he indirectly helped fund, according to a biography prepared by the DOD, and for which he helped prepare al Qaeda's defensive measures in anticipation of America's response, according to one of Zubaydah's own diary entries), Zubaydah said this:

The point of all this is that when Ressam stated about specific types of targets is inaccurate in the sense that while some of the training manuals we used to learn about targeting did specify types of targets, we did not train for any specific targets there. Also, these training manuals were military manuals from America, Russia and other countries.

Again, right. Sure, Zubaydah says, we may have taught Ressam about the types of targets to attack, but we did not select one! And these targets are in American and Russian manuals anyway!

And then there was a diary entry (Zubaydah's diary was recovered when he was arrested) "in 2000 in which he described plans against America consisting of explosions and the burning of cities and farms." Zubaydah said this was just hypothetical daydreaming:

"Here, the writing in my diary about plans against America were strictly hypothetical - they were not plans that I intended to execute against non-military targets in America or anywhere else. And even with the military targets, these were only ideas."

Um, sure. They were "only ideas" - like the millennium plots against America and Jordan.

Zubaydah made a number of ridiculous claims at his tribunal session at Gitmo. For some reason, the Post, and some of its sources think these claims are credible. Such is the state of reporting almost eight years after the September 11 attacks.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.