A Saudi national identified by US intelligence as the "20th hijacker" involved in the 9/11 plot has had those charges against him dropped "without prejudice:"
Charges against 5 others - including the mastermind behind the attacks Khalid Sheihk Mohammed - remain in effect.
Mohammed al-Qahtani was one of six men charged by the military in February with murder and war crimes for their alleged roles in the 2001 attacks. Authorities say al-Qahtani missed out on taking part in the attacks because he was denied entry to the U.S. by an immigration agent.
But in reviewing the case, the convening authority for military commissions, Susan Crawford, decided to dismiss the charges against al-Qahtani and proceed with the arraignment for the other five, said Army Lt. Col. Bryan Broyles, the Saudi's military lawyer.
Crawford dismissed the charges Friday without prejudice, meaning they can be filed again later, but the defense only learned about it Monday, Broyles told The Associated Press.
The attorney said he could not comment on the reasons for the dismissal until discussing the case with lawyers for the other five defendants. Officials previously said al-Qahtani had been subjected to a harsh interrogation authorized by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
Why the reporter would try and make a connection between the terrorist's "harsh interrogation" and the dropping of charges is something of a mystery. Perhaps the prisoner has flipped on his fellows or maybe the army will charge him with a different crime. But to ascribe a reluctance to prosecute as a result of "harsh interrogation" just doesn't make any sense - unless you're a biased AP reporter who saw an opportunity to make some kind of a half-baked statement about American detention policies. Those charges were filed long after the interrogation took place and therefore, one cannot connect the interrogation itself to the dropping of charges.