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House Members: Holder and Clinton Considering Release of ‘Blind Sheikh’

In a strongly worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, eight members of congress have demanded that a request to release Omar Abdel-Rahman from federal prison be rejected.
'Blind Sheikh' Omar Abdel-Rahman

'Blind Sheikh' Omar Abdel-Rahman

In a strongly worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, eight members of congress have demanded that a request to release Omar Abdel-Rahman from federal prison be rejected.  Abdel-Rahman, known as the “blind sheikh,” inspired the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and is serving a life sentence for his role in a plot to conduct assassinations and destroy bridges, tunnels and other landmarks in New York City.

It is believed that the unrest blanketing much of the Middle East last week was inspired at least in part by the demands that the Blind Sheikh be released, and that any consideration of such a request was inspired by an effort to quell the widespread anti-American fury.

The letter sent by Representative Pete King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and seven other key members of congressional leadership warned of the consequences of appeasing terrorism through such a blatant act of submission:

Succumbing to the demands of a country whose citizens threaten our embassy and the Americans serving in it would send a clear message that acts of violence will be responded to with appeasement rather than strength….The release of Abdel-Rahman or any terrorist who plots to kill innocent Americans would be seen for what it is – a sign of weakness and a lack of resolve by the United States and its President.

In addition to Rep. King, the letter was signed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith; House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers; House Committee on Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon; House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers; House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Chairman Frank Wolf; and House Appropriations Subcommittee on State of Foreign Operations Chairwoman Kay Granger.

The administration has not yet formally responded to the letter, according to Rep. King’s communications officer.

The full text of the congressional letter follows.

September 19, 2012

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Attorney General Holder and Secretary Clinton,

We are concerned about recent reports that the Obama administration is considering the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman, better known as the “blind sheikh,” to the custody of Egypt for humanitarian and health reasons.  If these reports are true, such considerations would be extremely disconcerting as release of this convicted terrorist should not happen for any reason.

The blind sheikh inspired the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, ordered the 1997 massacre of Western tourists at Luxor, Egypt, and issued the Islamic religious ruling that Osama bin Laden relied upon to justify the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.  He is serving a life sentence at a federal penitentiary, for seditious conspiracy to wage war upon the United States, based on his role in a 1993 plot to conduct assassinations and destroy bridges, tunnels and other landmarks in New York City.  The blind sheikh was the first person convicted under this statute since the Civil War. Nonetheless, the newly-elected government in Egypt has indicated that his release is amongst its top foreign policy priorities.

While considerations regarding the blind sheikh’s release would be disturbing in any context, they are particularly alarming given recent events.  The 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks was marked by the assassination of America’s ambassador to Libya and an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Egypt. The violence in Egypt has been attributed, in part, to that government’s demands for the blind sheikh’s release.

Succumbing to the demands of a country whose citizens threaten our embassy and the Americans serving in it would send a clear message that acts of violence will be responded to with appeasement rather than strength.  The blind sheikh should remain in federal prison.

The release of Abdel-Rahman or any terrorist who plots to kill innocent Americans would be seen for what it is — a sign of weakness and lack of resolve by the United States and its President.

We request a briefing this week by representatives from each of your Departments on the accuracy of recent reports and the status of any negotiations with Egypt.  We look forward to your immediate response.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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13 Responses to “House Members: Holder and Clinton Considering Release of ‘Blind Sheikh’”

  1. Liad Bar-el says:

    The only "resolve" that I see from Obama is to keep Pollard behind bars whose were trying to save lives not kill them.

  2. Liad Bar-el says:

    The only "resolve" that I see from Obama’s administration is to keep Pollard behind bars whose efforts were trying to save lives not kill them.

  3. Looks like my commentary on the latest submission is spot on – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/09/19/6973/.

  4. Stephen Leavitt says:

    He still looks like Santa to me.

  5. Omar Abdul-Rahman, responsable for murdering a few thousand Americans is to be released , whereas Jonathan Pollard that gave information to America's closest ally, Israel, has been imprisoned for 26 years and will not be considered for parole.
    If this is not blatant Obama/Biden anti-semitism, then what is!

  6. Grace Acosta says:

    What the ever lovin' WHAT? *headdesk*

  7. Charlie Hall says:

    The idea that such a trade is being considered is unsourced.

  8. Yossie Bloch says:

    I hear they're also writing a letter to Geitner asking that he not remove G-d from coins. Romney/ Rahman 2012!

  9. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    So Pollard, who killed no one, saved millions of lives, and did nothing, but mitigate the US betrayal of Israel, remains in prison for life while a fanatical anti-American mass murderer may be freed? Tell me again that the US is our "greatest Ally". With allies like this, who needs enemies? To paraphrase an Italian Renaissance man: G-d, guard me from my friends. From my enemies I can guard myself.

  10. Guess you have read any articles pertaining to the demand in previous months have Charlie Hall? Or that President authorized the release of the PanAM bomber in his first year in office in consideration of his ill health? Strange how the PanAm bomber who was supposedly had only a few months to live, lived for several more years FREE in Libya. Better do your due diligence and fast before NOVEMBER 6, 2012. Because I have absolutely no doubt that President Barrack Hussein Obama will again authorized a Muslim especially this Muslim to be released to Egypt from request from the New President of Egypt a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

  11. Charlie Hall says:

    Repeated references to the same unsourced material does not constitute a source.

  12. Release him in a MINE FIELD.

  13. my gd! horrible….did pollard did so bad….not fair! hitler coming back to power…america is going down with obama!

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