Interrogation: Criminal

Welcome to Brooklyn: 2 AQ members who attacked US forces abroad brought to US for civilian trial

By Robert Chesney
Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 12:27 PM

An interesting development in the ongoing debate regarding the optimal disposition for captured al Qaeda members: The Justice Department has just announced that two al Qaeda members (both citizens of Yemen) were captured in Saudi Arabia (and have now been "lawfully expelled" to the United States to face a civilian criminal trial in the Eastern District of New York. The criminal complaint alleges that Saddiq Al-Abbadi and Ali Alvi both participated in attacks on U.S. soldiers, and provides an interesting account illustrating the fluidity of organizational affiliation within the world of al Qaeda as of a few years ago. No word yet on how long the men were in custody in Saudi Arabia, nor whether any U.S. officials (from the HIG or otherwise...we do still have a HIG, don't we?) had access to them then, nor whether the transition from Saudi custody to arrival in the United States might have involved something longer than a plane ride.

Also noteworthy: This appears to be more of a HUMINT than a SIGINT case, in that the complaint makes clear that the evidence against the men rests largely (if not entirely) on statements from a cooperating witness (described as someone who previously pled guilty to offenses involving al Qaeda and who is now cooperating as part of an agreement with the government) and a confidential source, both of whom interacted with the defendants abroad.