Terrorists Beat the System in Federal Prisons

More than 200 with terror ties are in custody, and several have done damage.

ByABC News
December 15, 2009, 6:27 PM

Dec. 16, 2009 — -- White House officials said Tuesday Americans have nothing to fear from the Guantanamo detainees to be transferred to Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois, but in at least two cases, individuals connected to terror who are already in federal prisons have managed to beat the system.

One passed messages to his followers, and another seriously and permanently injured a guard during an escape attempt.

The federal Bureau of Prisons says it already holds some 240 individuals who it says are connected in some way to acts of international terrorism.

The most dangerous of the al Qaeda connected terrorists are held at what's known as the supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

The 20th hijacker Zacharias Moussaoui, the shoe bomber Richard Reid, the first World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, and dirty bomber Jose Padilla, have essentially disappeared inside the Colorado facility.

The prisoners lead a life circumscribed by severe conditions. If they behave they get up to 60 channels of television, special meals for Muslims and an occasional hour alone outside.

"It's a bleak and brutal existence that's defined by, essentially an 8 x 10 rectangle in which they live," said defense attorney Joshua Dratel, who defended al-Qaeda terrorist Wadih El-Hage, now serving life in Florence. "There is no socialization whatsoever and the isolation itself is extremely damaging."

The prisoners lead a life circumscribed by severe conditions. If they behave they get up to 60 channels of television, special meals for Muslims and an occasional hour alone outside.

\"It's a bleak and brutal existence that's defined by, essentially an 8 x 10 rectangle in which they live,\" said defense attorney Joshua Dratel, who defended al-Qaeda terrorist Wadih El-Hage, now serving life in Florence. \"There is no socialization whatsoever and the isolation itself is extremely damaging.\"","publishedDate":"2009-12-15T23:27:35Z","contributors":[{"name":"ABC News","url":"","role":"","logo":"","logoAlt":""}],"modifiedDate":"2009-12-16T18:23:45Z","section":"Blotter","wordCount":213,"relatedTags":{"heading":"Related Topics","tags":[]},"lead":{"ratio":"16x9","disableForMobile":false,"type":"xl","mediaType":"image","alignCaptionToBody":true},"ads":{"Sticky":{"kvps":{"test":true}},"RightRail":{"kvps":{"test":true}},"InlineBox":{},"InlineOutstream":{"disabled":false},"Taboola":{"position":"bottom","pageType":"article","config":{"network":"abcnews-abcnews","mode":"thumbnails-a","container":"taboola-below-article-thumbnails","type":"article","targetType":"mix","placement":"Below Article Thumbnails"}}},"featuredVideo":null,"dateline":"Dec. 16, 2009 —","seo":{},"LivePromotion":{}},"autoUpdate":{"enabled":false,"topics":["general-elections-2020-balance-of-power"]}},"upw":{"balanceOfPower":{"electoral":{"header":"Biden Projected to be President-Elect","candidates":{"democrats":{"id":1036,"displayName":"Joe Biden","shortDisplayName":"J. 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