July 10th, 2012
05:47 PM ET

Osama bin Laden confidant released from prison

By Pam Benson

A senior al Qaeda adviser who had close ties with the terrorist group's leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been released from a prison in Mauritania, according to U.S. officials.

Abu Hafs al-Mauritani fled to Iran when the United States invaded Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. He was held under house arrest in Iran until earlier this year, when he was extradited to Mauritania.

According to published reports, Abu Hafs - whose given name is Mahfouz Ould al-Walid - was released from prison after he renounced his ties to al Qaeda and condemned the 9/11 attacks.

A U.S. official who would only speak on the condition of anonymity when discussing sensitive intelligence matters said Tuesday that Abu Hafs "has been largely out of the game for a decade, but there's always the concern he could re-emerge as an ideological figure if he fails to follow through on whatever conditions of release he's made with Mauritanian authorities."

A U.S. counterterrorism official said Abu Hafs' actions will continue to be monitored "to determine if his words match his behavior."

Filed under: Al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden • Terrorism
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  40. Shawshank Redemption Revisited

    Ya gotta be kiddin me. Redeemed...my @ss. Either CIA will be using him to snoop....or he will be back bearing some gifts. Either way is bad news for both parties.

    July 11, 2012 at 11:52 am | Reply
  41. John

    the only people who comment on stories like these are sympathisers and rednecks....This man is evil, he twists his faith and uses ideology to act on behalf of a very tiny group. If the 1 billion muslims who walk this earth were all as extreme as this guy we'd have a very different world. The same way if we had 1 billion KKK or mormons the world would be equally as extreme. These are religious sects and have to be treated as so. Al Qaeda are the cancerous elements of Islam and we have to rid the world of these morons, but antagonising an entire faith only radicalizes and polarizes the West & Muslims.

    July 11, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply
    • John

      Yes, believe it or not, radicals dwell here in America as well. Look at AIPAC, these so called "fellow Americans" want to bring the US into yet another conflict with 72 million people who are not a threat to OUR interests and who generally speak favorably about the States. Just as dangerous as Al Qaeda, another Mid Eastern war would be a self-inflicted act of terror. Lets open up to Iran, get our corporations in there and develop leverage to push this nation back into line. The last thing we need is another North Korea.

      July 11, 2012 at 9:32 am | Reply
    • Obelisk ©™

      Your to do list

      • ARYA SAMAJ
      • SHIV SENA

      July 11, 2012 at 11:54 am | Reply
      • Ram

        @Obelisk... u do not know INDIA. Kepp ur mouth shut. that's the Hindustan!! Already muslim got the 2 separate country out of it. Ask Indian muslim, they will like to stay in India or in Pakistan??

        July 11, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  42. nx3pde

    He says he has renounced terrorism.Is it possible to believe a muslim?

    July 11, 2012 at 8:20 am | Reply
    • Hahahahahahahahaha

      That would be NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Hahahahahahahahahahaha

      July 11, 2012 at 9:25 am | Reply

      Yeah. Let's believe in Bapu instead. But cover your @ss up. ROFL !!!!

      Sadly Gandhi
      Among the various charges disclosed in the book: Gandhi not only slept in beds with young women under the age of 18, but also engaged in a long-term, gay affair with German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach, for whom India's peace icon at one point left his wife in 1908. As the Wall Street Journal reports:

      July 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  43. Chris

    Im sure they only released him so they can follow and monitor him and see who he makes contact with...

    July 11, 2012 at 2:59 am | Reply
  44. ouy

    A stooly and he don't even know it..lol probably computer chiped.

    July 10, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply
    • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

      Someone needs to put a little Polonium 210 in this guy's coffee!

      July 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Reply
  45. man

    Hafs was a key figure...read Ali Soufans work on him and Op Challenge. He trained and recruited for them as well. This guy should not be put on the street ....denounced or not.

    July 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Reply
    • dean

      This guy will turn up in the system soon. They never lose their devotion to Islam.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  46. Zapperdon

    Poor guy got locked up for being friends with a villain, but if he didn't know before hand what they were up to, I don't think he should have been locked up.

    July 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • Don

      What part of "adviser" did you not understand? He is not just "friends" with Bin Ladin, he guided his ideas of terrorism into actions.

      July 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Reply
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      Can you say"adviser"?

      July 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Reply
    • Ray

      'Poor guy'? Seriously? Clearly you have no sense...

      July 11, 2012 at 9:23 am | Reply
  47. Francis

    What brought about these Terrorists in the first place? Nelson Mandela was a Terrorist imprisoned for 27 yrs, so were many freedom fighters everywhere! Could everyone carry their cross?

    July 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Reply
    • Kevin

      What an idiotic comment. Nelson Mandela never flew planes into a building, he always stood for peaceful change. Do some research before commenting next time, moron

      July 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Reply
    • LJ

      Mandela founded the ANC's military wing and led a bombing campaign in the early 60's. Not to say he flew a plane into a building, but neither did this guy. But flying planes into a building really isn't the point, it's the strategy to specifically target civilians and cause their deaths in the thousands that's disgusting. But we also don't know what he was advising Bin Laden about. Maybe a spiritual adviser, maybe a financial adviser, much less likely a fashion adviser,

      July 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  48. Mike

    So, enough with the suspense already. Will this thug be going to work directly for Obama or will he have to work as an underling to Holder? Realistic minds want to know!

    July 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      Redneck bible belt trailer park trash want to know. Time to come home from the library Lester, other people want to use the internet.

      July 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Reply
      • jackyankee

        that must include your Mommy and Daddy who raised a crybaby who sucks his thumb and anything else that dangles in front of him, just ask Daddy.

        July 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • lol

      Nah, he's going to go work for CAIR.

      July 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Reply

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