Khairulla Khairkhwa

If he was a terror threat in 2011, he’s obviously still a terror threat in 2014.

Via Stephen Hayes:

While some top Obama administration officials are downplaying threats posed the five senior Taliban officials released from Guantanamo in the prisoner exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, not long ago the administration went to court to prevent one of those men from going free. In a decision on May 31, 2011, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled in favor of the government–and “Respondent Barack Obama”–in its effort to keep Khairulla Khairkhwa in detention. That decision, once classified “Secret,” has since been declassified and released.

Today, with these Taliban leaders free in Qatar and already looking likely to rejoin the fight against America, top Obama administration officials are seeking to reassure Americans that the threats are minimal–or, in the words of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, “sufficiently mitigated.” But just three years ago, the same administration argued in court against Khairkhwa’s writ of habeas corpus because of his senior position with the Taliban, his close relationship with Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and his support for Taliban forces fighting against the United States.

The case provides a window on the Obama administration’s concerns–concerns that many top intelligence and military officials continue to have. The court summarized the government’s case this way. “The government contends that the petitioner, a former senior Taliban official, is lawfully detained because he was part of Taliban forces and purposefully and materially supported such forces in hostilities against the United States,” the court wrote in the introduction to its opinion. […]

The court found persuasive the Obama administration’s argument that Khairkhwa helped lead Taliban fighters after the beginning of hostilities with the U.S. in the fall of 2001. Khairkhwa “had a “long history of involvement with the Taliban’s military affairs” and was a “prominent and influential leader within the Taliban.”

Before he was released, the Obama administration argued that Khairkhwa’s long experience as a jihadist leader required his continued detention by the U.S. government. Now that Obama has chosen to transfer him to Qatar the administration would have the public believe that he and the other freed Taliban leaders do not constitute a threat to the United States.

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