al Marri

Sleeper Agent: Ali Saleh Khalah al Marri

At the Long War Journal, Thomas Joscelyn writes:

As one of his first acts as president, Barack Obama ordered his new cabinet to review the case of Ali Saleh Khalah al Marri, the only “enemy combatant” held in the continental United States. On Thursday, January 22, President Obama ordered his executive branch to undertake “a prompt and thorough review of the factual and legal basis for al Marri’s continued detention, and identify and thoroughly evaluate alternative dispositions.”

The government believes that al Marri’s mission in the United States was two-fold. He was to investigate the possibility of launching a cyber attack against the U.S. banking industry and other targets, as well as act “as a point of contact for al Qaeda operatives arriving in the United States.” However, al Marri did not have the opportunity to execute any of the alleged plots. He was detained in December of 2001.

Federal authorities also captured Al Marri’s laptop, which contained numerous pieces of incriminating information in addition to various jihadist lectures given by Osama bin Laden. Al Marri had been doing extensive research on chemical weapons, as evidenced by numerous links to web sites containing information on hydrogen cyanide and other poisons. His laptop pointed authorities to “draft” emails that were written in English and saved in several accounts. Al Qaeda agents have exchanged information using publicly-registered email accounts. Instead of sending the emails, and risking that they are intercepted, a second or third operative can log into the same account, thereby accessing vital information in a draft email.

The emails from al Marri were addressed to an account that has been linked to [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed]. And the government believes they contained coded information, including al Marri’s stateside cell phone number.

Authorities also discovered that al Marri had, on multiple occasions, called a telephone number associated with Hawsawi in the United Arab Emirates. September 11 plotters Ramzi Binalshibh and Mohammed Atta called the same number to contact Hawsawi. In addition, according to Rapp, al Marri’s laptop contained files with “over 1,000 apparent credit card numbers” along with various files related to computer hacking. Al Marri allegedly intended to use the credit cards in a scam against the airline industry.