WASHINGTON - After secret interrogations, the CIA transferred to U.S. military custody a high-level al-Qaida figure who helped Osama bin Laden escape from Afghanistan in 2001, the Pentagon announced Friday.
Mohammad Rahim was captured last summer in Lahore, Pakistan, according to a diplomatic official who spoke on condition of anonymity because intelligence matters are involved. Rahim was later handed over to the CIA, which after interrogating him, turned him over to the U.S. military this week. In a message to agency employees Friday, CIA Director Michael Hayden said it was the first such transfer from his agency's interrogation program since April 2007.
Rahim is now being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Hayden said.
"Rahim's detention in the summer of 2007 was a blow to more than one terrorist network," Hayden told agency employees in a memo obtained by The Associated Press. "He gave aid to al-Qaida, the Taliban and other anti-coalition militants..."
...Rahim is a close associate of bin Laden and has ties to al-Qaida organizations throughout the Middle East, according to Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman. Officials said Rahim helped arrange the al-Qaida hide-out at Tora Bora - a mountain area full of warrens used by bin Laden during the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
The article focuses on the secret prison controversy, but unfortunately buries the lede by ignoring the key question raised by Rahim's position in the al Qaeda organization. If he helped bin Laden escape Tora Bora and he is a "close associate" of the AQ leader, then why haven't we captured bin Laden? This guy surely knows where he is, or at least has a pretty good idea of where he was. So why don't we have the big guy?
Seems to me if they released him from CIA custody, they got what they needed out of him and he's used up. So, a bin Laden capture on the eve of the '08 election? Conspiracy theories abound!