Foreign and Defense Policy, Terrorism

Gitmo terrorist gets a kitten (not from the Onion)

Did the Obama administration just give a top KSM lieutenant at Guantanamo Bay a kitten?

Majid Khan is a senior al Qaeda operative who was directly subordinate to KSM and was selected by the 9/11 mastermind to conduct terrorist operations inside the United States — and even passed a test KSM orchestrated, which showed Khan was committed to being a suicide operative — but was captured before he had the chance to enter the United States. He was taken into CIA custody and later transferred with KSM to Guantanamo Bay, where he was charged with war crimes including murder, attempted murder, spying, and providing material support for terrorism — until the Obama administration gave him a plea in exchange for his cooperation in the prosecution of his former compatriots.

It is bad enough that this hardened terrorist may eventually be released from Gitmo, but now it turns out that Majid Khan is enjoying the company of a new friend … a kitten. The Associated Press reports:

A former Maryland resident who is detained at Guantanamo Bay seems to have acquired a cat at the isolated prison on a U.S. base in Cuba, a fellow prisoner says in a letter released Friday.

Majid Khan has not been seen in public since he pleaded guilty in February to aiding al-Qaida in a deal that requires him to testify against others at Guantanamo. Details of his confinement are shrouded in secrecy as he is one of about a dozen men the Pentagon calls “high-value detainees,” who are kept apart from others.

The letter from prisoner Rahim al-Afghani has one intriguing bit of information and little else: “Majid Khan has a cat,” he writes to his lawyer, Carlos Warner, a federal public defender in Cleveland, Ohio.

Warner, who released the letter after it had undergone a required government security review, said he suspects Khan may have gotten a pet as a reward for agreeing to cooperate. He can’t disclose anything else the prisoner has said about this or any other subject because al-Afghani is also a high-value detainee and everything he says, even to his lawyer, is considered classified.

“I can’t confirm or deny whether he wants an adorable kitten,” Warner said in a phone interview.

Gitmo officials would neither confirm nor deny that Khan had been given a cat, but a Pentagon spokesman, Army Lt. Col. Joseph Todd Breasseale, said that there are stray cats that roam the base. “It’s possible he’s befriended one,” Breasseale told the AP.

Remember the days when Guantanamo Bay was declared by Amnesty International to be “the Gulag of our time”?

In the North Korean gulags today, if a prisoner came across a stray cat he wouldn’t “befriend it” – he would eat it to survive. At Gitmo, prisoners have gained an average of 20 pounds since arriving and earlier this year were given a a brand new, taxpayer-funded 28,000 square foot, $744,000 soccer field to help them work off the extra weight. And now it seems they are getting pets as well.

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