The U.S. State Department is actively considering negotiations with the Egyptian government for the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the Blind Sheikh, for humanitarian and health reasons, says a source close to the the Obama administration. The Department of Justice, however, has stated that Rahman is serving a life sentence and is not considered for possible release. (However, he could be considered for transfer as the Lockerbee bomber was transferred back to Libya)
The Blaze The Blind Sheikh is currently serving a life sentence in American prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, but the newly-elected Islamist government in Egypt has been actively petitioning his release. Many have pinpointed a cause of last week‘s unrest in in the country to be protests over the Blind Sheikh’s release — not an anti-Muslim YouTube video.
A veteran intelligence analyst and researcher for TheBlaze said he met with an official within the Obama administration who told him the transfer of the Blind Sheikh to Egypt is something that is being “actively considered” by the administration as a solution to the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. His source asked not to be identified, fearing he would be persecuted by the U.S. government. “He said, ‘you’ve got to help me,’” the analyst told TheBlaze.
When asked if the transfer of the convicted terrorist was being seriously considered, the intelligence analyst said yes, according to his source, who stressed that the move was not intended to take place or be announced until after the presidential election. He also said it is likely that the riots and unrest in the Middle East are related to efforts pressing for the release of Rahman, not the anti-Muslim YouTube clip that the Obama administration is adamant sparked the chaos.
“When radical Islamists in Egypt were calling for the burning down of the U.S. embassy this past weekend, before the riots took place this week, they said they were going to do this to push for the release of the Blind Sheikh,” he added.
Rahman, or the Blind Sheikh, is the former leader of the radical “Islamic Group” in Egypt, which now holds 13 seats in the Egyptian Parliament. The Obama administration recently hosted a member of the designated terrorist organization at the White House, where Hani Nour Eldin met with senior State Department and Obama administration officials. Eldin reportedly urged the National Security Council to release Rahman during his visit, the analyst explained.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who was the lead prosecutor in the Blind Sheikh case, told TheBlaze that he does not doubt the accuracy of the report, saying “there are very good reasons as to why it could be true.”
McCarthy explained that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been calling for the release of the Blind Sheikh ever since he was elected earlier this year. He said it is a matter of “great importance” to the radical Islamists in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, adding that his transfer to Egypt would undoubtedly lead to the terrorist’s release.
“I think the plan has been to agree to the Blind Sheikh’s release but not to announce it or have it become public until after the election. That is consistent with Obama’s pattern of trying to mollify Islamists,” he added. “Obviously, they did not want this information to surface yet… but sometimes a situation can spin out of control.”
McCarthy also said the way the Department of Justice worded its denial may prove to be significant. The DOJ said Rahman’s “release” was not being considered, however, the question was whether or not his “transfer” to Egypt was being discussed.
“Islamists in Egypt have been advocating for his release since we arrested him in the Summer of 1993 and have threatened and committed horrendous acts of violence to force his release,” the former federal prosecutor said. “The worst in Luxor, Egypt, where 58 tourists and 4 police officers were brutally shot, stabbed and the attackers left behind leaflets demanding the release of the Blind Sheikh, some inside the torsos of the victims.”
Former State Department senior official Christian Whiton appeared on Real News From TheBlaze to discuss the report, and stated that it is certainly a possibility. “Unfortunately, I think it is [conceivable]. And it’s unfortunate because it amounts to negotiating with terrorists…but after all, this administration was inching closer and closer to some sort of trade of terrorists with the Taliban, so perhaps it’s considering the same with [Egyptian President Morsi].”
He also noted that the administration could avoid what he deemed “political suicide” by “whispering” to Egypt’s President Morsi that they can move in that direction after the election. Buck Sexton noted that the transfer of the Lockerbie bomber was similarly unexpected. “As with so many things in the Middle East, we’ve accepted the unacceptable,” Whiston remarked.