A copy of Al Qaida's fiery magazine Inspire somehow got inside the prison camps at Guantánamo, a prosecutor disclosed at the war court Wednesday.
Navy Cmdr. Andrea Lockhart blurted out the embarrassing disclosure in defending the prison camps commander’s plan to give greater scrutiny to legal mail bound for alleged terrorists. She was discussing a system used by civilian lawyers to send materials to Guantánamo captives who are suing the U.S. for their freedom through habeas corpus petitions in Washington, D.C.
The legal mail dispute will not be resolved this week; Army Col. James Pohl, the chief military commissions judge, gave defense lawyers for alleged al Qaeda bomber Abd al Rahim al Nashiri a week to craft a proposed legal mail control order.
Meantime, Lockhart’s disclosure raised a number of questions about security at the 10-year-old Pentagon prison camps that currently house 171 captives managed by a 1,850-member staff — from guards to lawyers to intelligence agents. There’s been a librarian on the payroll tasked with blacking out articles in mainstream newspapers that camp staff consider incendiary.
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Pentagon and prison spokesman could not immediately provide details about which edition of the magazine reached the camps, whether a captive had actually seen one and how prison camp personnel discovered it.
It was first published in June 2010 in password-protect al Qaida chat forums but later emerged in print editions, said Evan Kohlmann, a Pentagon recognized expert on the terror group’s online activities.
Kohlmann called the discovery “regrettable” and said he first learned of the security breach in a question Wednesday from The Miami Herald.
The magazine’s editor was former New Yorker Samir Khan, who was killed in September in a U.S. drone missile strike on Al Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, in Yemen along with American radical Muslim preacher Anwar al Awlaki. He had only published seven editions, Kohlmann said
Its last cover shows smoke billowing from a rendering of a World Trade Center tower, using dollar signs, and the title: The Greatest Special Operation of All Time.
“Inspire Magazine was designed to be a little of everything — instructional, inspirational, informative,” Kohlmann said in an email Wednesday.
“It glorified AQAP activities, including attempted terrorist attacks on the U.S. — an entire issue was dedicated to the failed AQAP cargo bomb plot. It offered support for prisoners held in Guantánamo Bay. It glorified the actions of al Qaida’s leaders. And it contained specific terrorist plots and bomb-making recipes that were included to help inspire homegrown militants to carry out their own terrorist attacks.”
Defense attorneys for Nashiri, a Saudi-born alleged al Qaida chief of Arabian Sea attacks, flatly denied that it was a reference to their client’s case — or that he had obtained a copy of the magazine.
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