- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2013

Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law is in U.S. custody and will appear Friday in federal court in New York City to face charges of conspiring to murder Americans, the FBI said Thursday.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, 47, a former spokesman for the al Qaeda terrorist network, was seized by U.S. authorities in Jordan within the past week, said Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican.

Mr. King, former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, credited both the FBI and the CIA with the capture.

“One by one, we are getting the top echelons of al Qaeda,” Mr. King said Thursday. “I give the [Obama] administration credit for this: it’s steady and it’s unrelenting and it’s very successful.”

George Venizelos, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said Abu Ghaith “held a key position in al Qaeda, comparable to the consigliere in a mob family or propaganda minister in a totalitarian regime.”  

“He used his position to persuade others to swear loyalty to al Qaeda’s murderous cause,” Mr. Venizelos said. “He used his position to threaten the United States and incite its enemies.”

Officials at the White House and the CIA declined to comment on the matter to The Washington Times.

Abu Ghaith gained worldwide notoriety in widely circulated videos after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and Mr. King said the terrorist network spokesman was involved in plotting the 9/11 attacks.

One month after the attacks, Abu Ghaith appeared in two videos defending the carnage, saying in one of them that “the storm of planes will not stop.”

In a June 2002 statement on behalf of al Qaeda, Abu Ghaith said the terrorist group has the right to kill 4 million Americans, 2 million of them children, in revenge for U.S. military actions against Iraq and other Muslim states. 

The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported Thursday that Abu Ghaith had been seized in Jordan after being expelled from Turkey.

He reportedly had entered Turkey illegally from Iran, and was nabbed early last month in a luxury hotel in Ankara after Turkish authorities had been tipped off by the CIA.

According to Hurriyet, Turkish police held him for more than 30 days as the U.S. pursued his extradition.

But a Turkish court decided to release Abu Ghaith, noting that he had not committed any crimes in Turkey.

The court ruled that he is a stateless person because Abu Ghaith had been stripped of his Kuwaiti citizenship after he appeared in videos defending al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks and threatening more violence.

Because of his “stateless” status, Abu Ghaith could be deported to Iran or another country of his choosing, Hurriyet reported. After Iran rejected taking him, Turkish authorities decided to deport him to Kuwait by way of Jordan.

Turkey sent him to Jordan on March 1, the same day Secretary of State John F. Kerry was visiting the Turkish capital, Ankara, on a regional tour.

The CIA intercepted Abu Ghaith in Jordan as he was making his way to Kuwait, and brought him to the United States, the paper reported.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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