New Terror War Tactic? Alleged Al Qaeda-Linked Operative Secretly Held 2 Months on US Navy Vessel


Following the failed bombing in December 2009 of Northwest flight 253 by Umar Farouk Abdulmuttallab, there has been extensive debate between politicians on Capitol Hill and the Obama administration about reading terrorism suspects their Miranda rights.

Holding Warsame on the Navy vessel before charging him in a U.S. court could be a way to show the administration is capable of moving forward with terrorist trials for detainees captured overseas.

The Joint Special Operations Command's Vice Admiral William McRaven said at his Senate confirmation hearing last week that terror suspects are held on Navy ships until further actions are taken.

"That is always a difficult issue for us," McRaven said. "In many cases, we will put them on a naval vessel and we will hold them until we can either get a case to prosecute them in U.S. court ... or we can return him to a third party country. ... If we can't do either one of those, then we'll release that individual and that becomes the unenviable option, but it is an option."

According to officials briefed on the operation, there was another individual seized with Warsame who was released after it was determined he was not involved with Warsame. Details of that individual or his identity were unknown.

U.S. officials and Western security officials have been concerned about al Shabaab since it is believed approximately 30 to 40 young Somali men from the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom traveled to Somalia to fight with the group.

The probe into the youths going to fight overseas in Somalia's war received increased attention from the FBI and DHS officials after Shirwa Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, blew himself up in a suicide bombing in northern Somalia in October 2008 in an attack that targeted a African Union intelligence post. A second young man from the Seattle area blew himself up in an attack in 2009. And the FBI confirmed that a third U.S. person was involved in a suicide bombing earlier this year in Somalia against African Union security forces.

The continuing conflict in Somalia and al Shabaab's apparent desire to carry out attacks outside of Somalia has many officials concerned about the reach of the terror group. A State Department report released last year mentioned the concern about the training camps in the country.

"[Shabaab's] leaders have founded and support a number of training camps in southern Somalia for young national and international recruits to al-Shabaab," the report said. "In these camps, AQ-affiliated foreign fighters often lead the training and indoctrination of the recruits."

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