1. Flight 253

    Freed Gitmo Detainees Behind Attack

    In this handout photo from the Department of Defense made available Friday Jan. 18, 2002, Taliban and al-Qaida detainees in orange jumpsuits sit in a holding area under the watchful eyes of military police at Camp X-Ray at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during in-processing to the temporary detention facility on Jan. 11, 2002.  The detainees will be given a basic physical exam by a doctor, to include a chest x-ray and blood samples drawn to assess their health, the military said.   (APPhoto/Shane T.McCoy, U.S. Navy)

    AP Photo

    Following al Qaeda's statement taking responsibility for the Christmas Day attack on Northwest Flight 253, ABC News reports that two of the bomb plot's masterminds were former Guantanamo Bay detainees, freed in November 2007 and sent back to their home nation of Saudi Arabia. Guantanamo prisoner No. 333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi (who has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi), and prisoner No. 372, Said Ali Shari, have since been described as al Qaeda commanders and appear in propaganda videos filmed in 2009. After their release, the former prisoners entered an "art therapy rehabilitation program" in Saudi Arabia, then are believed to have migrated to Yemen where they joined a growing hotbed of al Qaeda-networked terrorist organizations. One U.S. diplomat said Saudi Arabia's "so-called rehabilitation programs are a joke," and ABC News notes that a similar repatriation program in Yemen was abandoned after authorities concluded participants were funneling straight back into terrorism.

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