Committee Chairs Want Answers on Blind Sheikh Release
September 20, 2012
Eight House committee leaders have written to Obama administration officials asking about reports the administration is considering an Egyptian request to release blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman from prison.
“If these reports are true, such considerations would be extremely disconcerting as release of this convicted terrorist should not happen for any reason,” the letter from U.S. Reps. Lamar Smith, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., Mike Rogers, R-Mich., Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., Peter King, R-N.Y., Hal Rogers, R-Ky. , Frank Wolf, R-Va., and Kay Granger, R-Tex., said. Each chairs a significant House committee.
The query was prompted by a story published Monday by The Blaze and discussed by talk show host Glenn Beck. A Blaze staffer said an unnamed Obama administration told him Abdel-Rahman’s release was being “actively considered.”
Abdel-Rahman is serving a life sentence for plotting a series of bombing attacks on New York tunnels and landmarks. And he is considered the spiritual influence behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people. His imprisonment has become an obsession for some in Egypt, with new President Mohamed Morsi promising to lobby Washington for Abdel Rahman’s release when he meets U.S. officials.
It was Abdel Rahman’s imprisonment, and not alleged offense to an anti-Muslim video, that triggered violent protests outside the American embassy in Cairo last week, U.S. intelligence officials say.