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If Captured, Bin Laden Will Be Sent To Guantanamo

Washington, Feb 17: If captured, al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, branded as the world's two most wanted terrorist would be sent to Guantanamo Bay detention centre, as top US security
PTI February 17, 2011 17:38 IST
PTI
Washington, Feb 17: If captured, al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, branded as the world's two most wanted terrorist would be sent to Guantanamo Bay detention centre, as top US security officials said they were in Pakistan and under greater pressure than any other time.

"We would probably move them quickly into military jurisdiction at Bagram for questioning, and then eventually move them probably to Guantanamo," CIA Chief Leon Panetta said, the first time any US official has outlined detention plan for al-Qaeda's top leadership.

US Congress has barred the Administration from moving any Guantanamo detainees into the United States and Panetta's statement would appear to rule out any federal trial for Osama or his number two.

The CIA Chief outlined the Osama detention plan while deposing at a Congressional hearing, where another top US intelligence official James R Clapper was quick to note that there will be discussion on this between the intelligence agencies.

"If we were to capture either one of those two luminaries-- if I can use that term -- I think that that would probably be a matter of some interagency discussions as to, you know, what their ultimate disposition would be and whether they would be tried or not".

As President Barack Obama is committed to closing down the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, the White House new Press Secretary Jay Carney said the Obama administration is focused on capturing Laden and it's also committed to the closure of the Guantanamo Bay.

In his deposition, the Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said al-Qaeda had suffered losses of its numerous senior commanders and faced significant challenges to coordinating operations, maintaining safe havens and acquiring funding.

But the top most US military commander conceded that despite the pressure on the outfit, it retained the intent and capability to attack US and other western targets.

Mullen said the group's leaders continue to operate in the Af-Pak border region, planning operations and guiding the efforts of al-Qaeda's network operating out of Arabian Peninsula, Africa and in Europe.

The US military chief said, besides al-Qaeda insurgents groups such as Quetta Shura and Haqqani network were operating unhindered from sanctuaries in Pakistan. PTI