Abu Ghaith’s capture – he was taken into custody in Turkey and deported to Jordan, where he was captured this past week by Jordanian and US officials and brought to the United States – marks a major coup for counterterrorism officials.
“No amount of distance or time will weaken our resolve to bring America's enemies to justice,” Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday. “This arrest sends an unmistakable message: There is no corner of the world where you can escape from justice because we will do everything in our power to hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
“The significance of this capture is that he was an individual who is alleged to have engaged in pretty significant organizational affiliation with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden … and maybe some plots as well,” says Raha Wala, advocacy counsel in the Law and Security Program at Human Rights First, a nonprofit organization. “Somebody who was captured overseas in Jordan in an area in which we have some law enforcement officials present.… That’s a big deal.”
It also marks a major success for the Obama administration, which has fought a legal and public relations battle to charge foreign terror suspects in American federal courts rather than military tribunals. Abu Ghaith is one of the first top Al Qaeda officials to go on trial on US soil.