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The Long Road to the Cole Bombing Indictment

POSTED: 06:19 PM ET, 06/30/2008 by Derek Kravitz

The road from Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri's secret capture by CIA officials in Kuwait in November 2002 to his indictment today by U.S. military prosecutors for his alleged role in the attack on the USS Cole, a bombing that killed 17 U.S. service members, has been a long one.

The charges filed against al-Nashiri are the first since the Cole bombing nearly eight years ago, The Post's Josh White reports. In the attack, a small barge laden with TNT and other explosives pulled up alongside the U.S. warship in the Gulf of Aden and detonated, blowing a massive hole in the side of the ship as it refueled at the Yemeni port.

Al-Nashiri allegedly conceived the Oct. 12, 2000, plot with al-Qaeda, arranged to purchase the boat and explosives and supervised its execution, U.S. government officials say.

Al-Nashiri, also known as Abu Asim al Makki, has been described as a 15-year associate of Osama bin Laden. He was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and fought against the Russians in Afghanistan. He spent time in Yemen, where he was an owner of Al Mur Honey, a company the U.S. government has branded a financier of terrorism.

A millionaire by the time he was 19, al-Nashimi periodically went to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden and U.S. officials say he took part in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; a failed attempt to bomb the USS The Sullivans in 2000; and an attack on the French supertanker SS Limburg in October 2002.

That all changed when al-Nashimi was caught after a dramatic precision missile attack on Nov. 3, 2002, from an unmanned CIA drone killed Abu Ali al-Harithi, another Yemeni-based al Qaeda leader, and five associates as their vehicle sped along a remote highway in Yemen.

Since then, during the past six years of his imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, al-Nashimi told a panel of military officers that he was repeatedly tortured and that he admitted taking part in numerous terrorism plots because of the mistreatment.

CIA Director Michael V. Hayden confirmed in February that the CIA used a tactic called waterboarding on three al-Qaeda prisoners, including al-Nashiri, at a secret detention site.

Al-Nashiri's capture was as a result of information gained during interrogations, according to U.S. intelligence and national security officials who spoke to The Post as part of the paper's long-running coverage of secret prisons and interrogation tactics.

By Derek Kravitz |  June 30, 2008; 6:19 PM ET
Previous: Magazine Sheds Light on Pentagon Resignation | Next: DC Region: Inmate Killing Highlights Jail Troubles


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Keep in mind that the two suicide bombers who attacked the USS Cole were also Saudis:

As were the Khobar Towers bombers. And the African Embassy bombers. And 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11. And a majority of the suicide bombers attacking our troops in Iraq to this day.

Posted by: Bill in Chicago | July 1, 2008 12:09 PM

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