Obama Frees Terrorist that Bombed USS Cole-Mostly Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
President Obama released Mashur Ahmed al Sabri, a terrorist responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole, from Guantanamo Bay.
Mashur Ahmed al Sabri has not been released, and its not clear whether or not he played a role in the bombing of the USS Cole.
Rumors about Mashur Ahmed al Sabri’s release went viral after he was transferred to a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia from Guantanamo Bay in April 2016.
News of Mashur Ahmed al Sabri’s transfer without a trial upset Kirk Lippold, the commanding officer of the USS Cole when the guided missile destroyer was attacked in October 2000, who told Fox News:
“I would have liked to have seen him receive a military commission where he was tried, convicted and sentenced and then his suitability for release determined under the laws of armed conflict,” Lippold said.
“From the perspective of the American people and my crew, he’s never been held accountable,” Lippold added.
Major General Jay Hood, the former director of operations at Guantanamo, told Fox News that the Saudi rehabilitation program is well intended and should be applauded, but he also expressed skepticism:
“If history is a guide, we can expect to see some number of them back in the fight soon,” he said. “As a group, the Yemenis held at GTMO represented the most committed and violent of the Islamic extremist in US custody.”
That report was spun into a story published by the rightwing new site Frontpage Mag under the headline, “Obama Frees USS Cole Bombing Terrorists,” that falsely reported that Mashur Ahmed al Sabri had been definitively linked to the USS Cole bombing and that he had been released by Obama:
Walid bin Attash, a planner of the USS Cole bombing and who also played a role in the 9/11 attack, is still at Gitmo. His trial continues to drag on while he and his lawyers play games. Rahim Hussein al-Nashiri, another of the planners, is still awaiting trial. But Mashur Abdallah Ahmed al Sabri, one of the members of the USS Cole cell, has already been released by Barack Obama from Guantanamo Bay.
Sabri was rated as a high risk terrorist who is ”is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies”, but that was no obstacle for Obama who had already fired one Secretary of Defense for being slow to free dangerous Al Qaeda terrorists and was browbeating his latest appointee over the same issue.
Official files on Mashur Ahmed al Sabri indicate that he has indeed been determined to be a “high risk” for returning to terrorist networks if released without trial. However, those files don’t directly link him to the USS Cole bombing. In fact, the documents indicate that Mashur Ahmed al Sabri was in Pakistan at the time the USS Cole was bombed while refueling in Yemen in October 2000:
Mashur Ahmed al Sabri was indirectly linked to the USS Cole bombing because he once trained with the terrorist cell that carried out the attack, but he has denied involvement, and prosecutors haven’t been able to provide any definitive proof of his involvement, according to documents:
So, it’s true that Mashur Ahmed al Sabri has been deemed a “high risk” for rejoining terrorism networks, and that he once trained with a terrorist cell that carried out the USS Cole attack.
However, the claim that al Sabri was a “USS Cole bombing terrorist” is unproven, and the report that Obama released him is false.