By Bob Unruh
February 8, 2022
The Biden administration is working on plans to release the suspected 20th hijacker involved in the 9/11 terror attack, that assault on America during which terrorists, mostly from Saudi Arabia, crashed four hijacked jets into New York and Washington buildings, killing almost 3,000 innocent people.
The New York Times reports Mohammed al-Qahtani never was put on trial because he was “brutally interrogated by the U.S. military” at Guantanamo Bay’s prison for terrorists.
He survived the 9/11 carnage because he was denied entry to the U.S. at the time of the attack, and so couldn’t be among those who boarded the four jets and crashed them.
The Times described al-Qahtani as “mentally ill” and security officials long have considered him too dangerous to release.
However, the report said on Friday, the Pentagon announced a board considering cases involving terror suggested sending Qahtani to Saudi Arabia for “custodial rehabilitation and mental health care program for extremists.”
His release could happen as early as March, even though a number of other terrorists released by the Obama administration later were found to have returned to terrorism.
The report said a Navy doctor on special duty to consider such cases suggested that Qahtani be released because he could not get medical treatment he needs at Guantanamo and he was “too impaired” to pose a future threat.
That recommendation later was adopted by the Periodic Review Board, the report said.
The Biden administration then worked to negotiate his return to Saudi Arabia, making the plan public only days ago.
The board had said it “recognizes the detainee presents some level of threat in light of his past activities and associations.” But it said those threats could be “mitigated.”
It cited his “compromised mental health condition” and noted Saudi Arabia’s opportunities for “comprehensive” care.
His lawyer, Ramzi Kassem, claimed he wasn’t a threat.
“Despite the severity of his illness, Mohammed doesn’t pose a risk to anyone but himself. He needs psychiatric treatment in Saudi Arabia, not continued incarceration in Cuba,” he said.
Qahtani is one of 19 still detained at Guantanamo who have been recommended for transfer, but most of those cannot be repatriated because they come from unstable nations, such as Yemen.
There are another 20 detainees who have not been recommended for repatriation.
The report said Qahtani tried to get into the United States on Aug. 4, 2001, but was turned away by an immigration inspector in Orlando, Florida.
“Authorities later discovered that Mohamed Atta — a ringleader of the attack carried out by 19 hijackers that killed nearly 3,000 people the next month — had come to meet him there,” the report said. “The circumstances led the authorities to believe that al-Qaida had sent Mr. Qahtani to serve as a member of the team that hijacked United Airlines Flight 93. Passengers on the flight fought back and caused the plane to crash into a Pennsylvania field rather than its likely intended target, the U.S. Capitol.”
The report said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia before he tried to enter the U.S., and he was captured along the Pakistani border months after the terror attack and was sent to Guantanamo.
The Times said as part of his interrogations he was deprived of sleep and water and made to “bark like a dog, dance with a man and wear women’s underwear on his head.”
They extracted a confession, which he later recanted.
The Free Beacon reported Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, condemned the plan as an “appalling capitulation to the far-left.”
“On Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people—Mohammed al-Qahtani was supposed to be one of the hijackers that day. He flew to America to participate in the attack and would have succeeded but for sharp-eyed INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] agents. The leader of the 9/11 attacks, Mohamed Atta, was waiting in the airport parking lot to pick up al-Qahtani when he was denied entry to the United States.”