If Zawahiri caught, military not sure where he would go
March 6th, 2012
05:24 PM ET

If Zawahiri caught, military not sure where he would go

By CNN National Security Producer Jennifer Rizzo

The U.S. military is still not clear where it would hold al Qaeda's most-wanted terrorist should he be caught, U.S. military officials said Tuesday.

Following up on a question asked of Adm. William McRaven, special operations commander, at his confirmation hearing last year, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, asked the admiral again: If al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri were caught tonight in Pakistan, where would he be placed for long-term detention?

"Last year, you said you weren't sure what we would do in that circumstance," Ayotte said. "Has anything changed since then?"

"Nothing has changed since then," McRaven responded.

Holding the al Qaeda head in Afghanistan would not be an option if he were caught elsewhere, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East said.

"Our practice now is not to do that," said Gen James Mattis, head of the U.S. Central Command. "It would take a government-to-government agreement to do something like that."

The recent defense authorization bill mandated that al Qaeda operatives caught overseas be held by the military, but the Obama administration issued a policy directive that allows the president to limit the instances in which foreign citizens suspected of links to al Qaeda must be handed over to the military for trial.

President Obama has signed an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, and no new prisoners have been transferred there since he took office. But the president has met fierce resistance from Republicans trying to block efforts to move terrorism suspects out of Guantanamo. This week, Attorney General Eric Holder said that civilian prisons are capable of holding terrorists, including the hundreds convicted of terror-related crimes currently in civilian prisons.

"Not one has ever escaped custody. No judicial district has suffered any kind of retaliatory attack. These are facts, not opinions," Holder said in a speech on Monday.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Al-Zawahiri • Detainees • Gitmo • Military • Terrorism • US Central Command • USSOCOM
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Grupo

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    April 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  2. reddog333

    why cant women join the marines? maybe your not a marine you are a pig. squeal

    March 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Reply
    • reddog333

      5th marine

      March 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  3. The Rock

    I would send him to the synagogue, where he will learn a new form of humility.

    March 8, 2012 at 1:15 am | Reply
  4. dog4dog

    rikers island, let nyc have a go at him

    March 8, 2012 at 12:06 am | Reply
    • dog4dog

      prolly not the best idea to allow him to become a martyr but he should at least feel the energy and good that he took away before he is put down, bring guilt and the almighty down upon thee who in their last moments fear to face me – 911 NEVER FORGET

      March 8, 2012 at 12:11 am | Reply
    • dog4dog

      my uncle worked the world trade center overnight shift, he lost too many of his best friends, he spent months down there at first hoping to bring someones dad home then looking to bring someones body home and in the end just hoping to give them a respectful memorial, if anyone deserves a go at the s o b he does,

      March 8, 2012 at 12:21 am | Reply
  5. mipolitic

    he would be brought to many levels that he has never before seen or felt , as he is questioned. for months

    March 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  6. galileo

    I can answer that: When he is caught–Hell will be his final destination.

    March 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  7. michaelfury

    Same place this guy went?

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/interior-attack/

    March 7, 2012 at 7:40 am | Reply
  8. Peikoviany

    Woodchipper.

    March 7, 2012 at 4:43 am | Reply
  9. Maltese Falcon

    War Crimes Tribunal in the Netherlands, right? We certainly don't need any more mistakes by those clowns in the Amerikan military, do we? No.

    March 7, 2012 at 1:17 am | Reply
    • Joe

      learn how to spell it in English before you bash it!

      March 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  10. ep tor

    If? Wow, what confidence.

    March 7, 2012 at 12:48 am | Reply
  11. ForestGump

    We should put him in a applewood smoker and make sandwiches out of him...

    March 7, 2012 at 12:36 am | Reply
    • Queef

      Absolutely! After all, the nation who's people are the fattest in the world will eat anything.

      March 7, 2012 at 3:16 am | Reply
  12. Pedro Herrera

    The biggest terrorist and threat to AMERICA is obama bin laden...............

    March 7, 2012 at 12:09 am | Reply
    • Voice of Reason

      Or maybe it's you and your mexican buddies with all your drugs

      March 7, 2012 at 12:44 am | Reply
      • J. Pollard

        V of R you're an idiot racist bitch just like me.

        We dirty evil zionists sure think the same.

        israel forever.

        March 7, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Clinton

      Pedro... that's funny since last time i checked... US citizens haven't flown Jet liners into famous mosque's in the middle east... or strapped bombs to themselves and blown up innocent men women and children in markets because they're an easier target than actually fighting the enemy...... in short... you're stupid.

      March 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  13. Even Stevens

    What if al-Zawahiri captured Obama? I know al-Zawahiri is looking for him and bibi.

    It goes both ways dumb idiot zionists. I hope al-Zawahiri captures a couple thousand idf soldiers and kills them all like the dogs they are. What will happen then? How much is the life of one zionist idf soldier or one miserable ex-communist zionist invader from Russia?

    Answer: Zip . . .Nada . . . .Zero . . . Nothing. Caca is caca . . . except khazar-caca is twice as smelly.

    March 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • Clinton

      Even steven – that's a dumb statement to begin with but just figured i'd point out... you're calling for Al Qaeda to capture IDF soldiers etc. ... kind of funny since Al Qaeda doesn't seem interested in trying to fight Israel, they're too busy blowing up civilians in markets claiming that they're hurting the US when really they're just killing a bunch of muslims that have nothing to do with the ideology Al Qaeda claims to hate.... funny... who's the real enemy dip!@#$?

      March 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  14. Kevin

    Even if they catch him they wont tell anyone where they are taking him

    March 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  15. RetiredVet

    If Zawahiri is caught, he should get the same treatment as Bin Laden.

    March 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
    • 5th Marine

      Exactly. "But you see, he wasn't really caught, he resisted by fire from an AK, and we had to empty a magazine into his skull. Really saddened us, but war's hell. Took pics and bio-samples then fed him to the fish."

      Problem solved.

      March 6, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
      • TGerry Bosecker

        Thanks for serving.

        March 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
      • Abe Lincoln

        Hey TGerry: Thanks for serving?? Very odd statement. Why would you believe the jerk with the 5th Marine name is real?

        March 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
      • Voice of Reason

        It's called respect for the men in uniform. It's better to assume he is telling the truth than to treat him as a liar

        March 7, 2012 at 12:44 am |
      • Queef

        Another fabulous bullshit story for the feeble-minded American public.

        March 7, 2012 at 3:18 am |
      • reddog333

        get a life

        March 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm |

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