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Tipsheet

Did You See Who Was Just Released From GITMO?

AP Photo/Haraz Ghanbari, File

Earlier this week the Biden Administration quietly released an Al Qaeda terrorist and 9/11 hijacker from Guantanamo Bay prison. Citing mental health issues, they sent him back to Saudi Arabia. 

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"The Department of Defense announced today the repatriation of Mohammad Mani Ahmad al-Qahtani from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the Department of Defense released in a statement. "On June 9, 2021, the Periodic Review Board process determined that law of war detention of Mohammad Mani Ahmad al-Qahtani was no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the national security of the United States. Therefore, the PRB recommended that al-Qahtani be repatriated to his native country of Saudi Arabia, subject to security and humane treatment assurances. On Feb. 4, 2022, Secretary of Defense Austin notified Congress of his intent to repatriate al-Qahtani to Saudi Arabia. In consultation with our Saudi partners, we completed the requirements for responsible transfers." 

Al-Qahtani was the 20th hijacker. More from the New York Post

Defense officials say al-Qahtani was trained by al-Qaeda and tried to join the hijackers and take part in the terror attacks. In August 2001, he was turned away from the US at the Orlando airport by immigration officers who were suspicious of his travel.

Mohammad Ahmad al-Qahtani, 46, was flown to Saudi Arabia after the Biden administration dropped a legal fight initiated under former President Donald Trump contesting the prisoner’s repatriation. 

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Although initiated in February, the release came as President Joe Biden asked Saudi Arabia to pump more oil in order to make up for a U.S. ban on Russian imports. According to the Wall Street Journal, Biden unsuccessfully attempted to have a phone call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman this week.

Republican lawmakers are not pleased with the move. 

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