Osama and Zawahiri to be kept at Guantanamo if captured: CIA

Thursday, February 17, 2011

WASHINGTON - Central Intelligence Agency director Leon Panetta has said that dreaded al Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri will be kept at Guantanamo Bay if they are captured, despite President Barack Obama’s vow to close the military-run prison.

“We would probably move them quickly into military jurisdiction at Bagram for questioning and then, eventually, move them probably to Guantanamo,” Panetta told a Senate intelligence panel on Wednesday.

The Pentagon maintains a high-security military detention facility at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

But at the White House, however, there was no support for Panetta’s suggestion that bin Laden would go to Guantanamo, Politico reports.

“I’m not going to speculate about what, you know, would happen if we were to capture Osama bin Laden. I can tell you that this government is very focused on bringing to justice a perpetrator of the attacks on 9/11,” press secretary Jay Carney said.

Carney also insisted that Obama “remains committed to closing Guantanamo,” despite legislation he signed last month that effectively bars transferring prisoners to the US, and also could make it far more difficult to send some prisoners to other countries.

At the Senate hearing, Chambliss, the vice-chair, said Guantanamo would probably be the best choice for detaining a high-value suspect like bin Laden or Al-Zawahiri, despite the White House’s vow to shut it down. (ANI)

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