Friday, January 23, 2009

Follow the Motive

Besides What Steve Said about Said Ali al-Shihri, the former Guantanamo detainee who is now an al Qaeda leader, I want to highlight a portion of the story that isn't getting the emphasis it should.

My first reaction on hearing about it was, 'who leaked this'? The timing struck me as a little too convenient, coming on the heels of Obama's executive order on Guantanamo. The answer is in the story:

His status was announced in an Internet statement by the militant group and was confirmed by an American counterterrorism official. [emphasis added]
There it is: it comes from al Qaeda. They may or may not have posted it after Obama's executive order (none of the stories is any more specific than 'this week'), but at the very least it coincides with the arrival of a new President who has consistently said he plans to close Guantanamo.

'Coincides.' Right.

So it seems to me the big story here is not that one former Guantanamo detainee joined al Qaeda (whether because the administration blew it in the first place, or because he was radicalized by the Guantanamo experience, or maybe both); the big story is that al Qaeda is trying to sabotage efforts to close Guantanamo.

What does that tell you?

As Robert Gibbs said, Thursday's executive orders "made America safer, made America stronger." Guantanamo has made us less safe, not more; if you don't believe me, just ask al Qaeda.