CIA captures Abu Ghaith after Turkey deportation

ANKARA, March 7, (Agencies): Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was seized by CIA agents and taken to the United States after Turkey deported him to Jordan this month, a Turkish newspaper reported on Thursday.

Abu Ghaith, the former spokesman of the al-Qaeda network, was seized last month at a luxury hotel in Ankara after a tip-off from CIA and was held there by the police despite a US request for his extradition.
Turkish authorities deported Abu Ghaith to Jordan on March 1 to be sent back to Kuwait but he was seized by CIA agents in Jordan and taken to the United States, the Hurriyet newspaper said.

His deportation coincided with a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Ankara as part of a regional tour, it added.

The Turkish foreign ministry declined to comment on the report while the US embassy in Ankara told AFP: “We’re aware of the reports.”

Ankara considers Abu Ghaith a “stateless” person as he was stripped of his Kuwaiti nationality after appearing in videos defending the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and threatening further violence.

The United States wanted him extradited over his alleged connection to the attacks.

He appeared in a propaganda video in the aftermath of 9/11, standing beside bin Laden, who was killed in May 2011 in Pakistan in a covert US operation.

Abu Ghaith was detained in Turkey after he allegedly entered the country illegally from Iran.
He was freed by an Ankara court because he did not commit any crime on Turkish soil and local media claimed Turkey had hesitated to extradite him to the United States fearing it could become a target of al-Qaeda.

Initial public confirmation of Abu Ghaith’s capture came from Representative Peter King, a senior Republican member of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee and former chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

“I commend our CIA and FBI, our allies in Jordan, and President (Barack) Obama for their capture of al-Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. I trust he received a vigorous interrogation, and will face swift and certain justice,” King said in a statement.

“Propaganda statements in which Abu Ghaith and his late father-in-law, Osama bin Laden, praised the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001 are alone enough to merit the most serious punishment.”

US sources indicated that, while a CIA role in the capture of Abu Ghaith could not be ruled out, the FBI took the lead role in the operation under the auspices of an interagency body known as the High-value Detainee Interrogation Group.

The group was created by Obama’s administration after the president ordered the permanent shut down of a CIA program in which militant suspects were detained and held in a network of secret prisons, during the administration of president George W. Bush. The suspects were sometimes subjected to controversial and physically coercive “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and also sometimes transferred without trial to third countries under a procedure known as “extraordinary rendition.”

Precisely what the FBI and interrogation group now intend to do with Abu Ghaith was not immediately known. Sources said one possibility is that he could be brought to the United States for trial in an American court.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

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