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October 27, 2007
USS Cole Bomber Released from Prison
I guess the life of an American is pretty cheap in Yemen:
U.S. law enforcement officials Friday blasted Yemen's release of one of the leaders of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 U.S. soldiers. Al-Badawi escaped from Yemenese custody last year, turned himself in two weeks ago and promised to renounce terrorism and pledged alliegiance to Yemen's rulers.
The release of Jamal al-Badawi, a mastermind in the 2000 USS Cole bombing, has outraged U.S. officials. "We are dismayed and deeply disappointed in the government of Yemen's decision not to imprison [Jamal al-Badawi]," said a Justice Department statement issued by the Department's National Security Division.
"We have communicated our displeasure to Yemeni officials," the statement said. The statement pointedly referred to al-Badawi as one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists and noted prosecutors in New York City want to get their hands on him.
"He was convicted in Yemeni courts and has been indicted in the Southern District of New York," the Justice Department said. Officials said the decision is not consistent with cooperation between counterterrorism officials of the United States and Yemen.
US officials close to the case are not impressed with al-Badawi's "conversion:"
"He's got American blood on his hands. He confessed to what he did ... and they let him go," said one official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly. Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has called on the government to suspend $20 million in aid to Yemen in response to the release of the terrorist.
"This will not be the last we hear of him," another federal official under the same restriction told CNN's Kelli Arena.
Does this kind of action by a foreign government - not the first time it's happened - make the case for indefinite detention of terrorists? Certainly if the US official is right and we "haven't heard the last" from al-Badawi, then some kind of arrangement regarding a convicted terrorist's imprisonment should be reached so that we are not bedeviled by these guys again.