03.10.13 3:41 PM ET
Iranian Shelter for al-Qaeda
Osama bin Laden's son-in-law will soon face trial in New York City. But the real news is contained in the prior part of the story: for more than a decade he had found shelter in Iran. As did multiple other al Qaeda leaders. Peter Bergen at CNN.com:
As is well known, many of bin Laden's family and members of his inner circle fled Afghanistan for Pakistan after the fall of the Taliban in the winter of 2001, but what is less well known is that some also fled to neighboring Iran.
According to U.S. documents and officials, in addition to Abu Ghaith, other of bin Laden's inner circle who ended up in Iran include the formidable military commander of al Qaeda, Saif al-Adel, a former Egyptian Special Forces officer who had fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, as well as Saad bin Laden, one of the al Qaeda's leader older sons who has played some kind of leadership role in the group.
Saad bin Laden spent the first six months of 2002 living in Karachi in southern Pakistan. From there he helped one of his father's wives, Khairiah bin Laden, and several of his father's children to move from Pakistan to Iran.
For years these bin Laden family members all lived under in the Iranian capital, Tehran, under some form of house arrest. Their conditions were not unpleasant, with time for visits to swimming pools and shopping trips.
Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence learned that some al Qaeda operatives were living in the northern Iranian town of Chalus, on the Caspian Sea.
Let's just ponder all of that for a moment. Al Qaeda. In Iran. Going swimming.