Shocking testimony in the Hamdan trial revealed that Osama's top bodyguard was inexplicably released from Guantanamo.

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — Soon after Osama bin Laden's driver got here in 2002, he told interrogators the identity of the al Qaeda chief's most senior bodyguard — then a fellow prison camp detainee.

But, inexplicably, the U.S. let the bodyguard go.

This startling information was revealed in the fourth day of the war crimes trial of Salim Hamdan, 37, facing conspiracy and material support for terror charges as an alleged member of bin Laden's inner circle.

Osama bin Laden's escape from Tora Bora when we had him surrounded was hard to explain. However, in the "fog of war" his escape was explicable. The release of his bodyguard from captivity at Guantanamo is utterly inconsistent with the indefinite detention of many captives known to be either minor players or innocents.

It calls into question the seriousness the government's desire to win "the war on terror".

How can this be explained if we are serious about winning the "war on terror" ?

Chief among them was Casablanca-born Abdallah Tabarak, then 47, described by St. Ours as ''a hard individual,'' and, thanks to Hamdan, ``the head bodyguard of all the bodyguards.''

St. Ours said he was eager to speak with Tabarak. But the Moroccan was ''uncooperative,'' and St. Ours moved on to other intelligence jobs — and never learned afterward what became of him.

Then, on cross-examination, Hamdan defense attorney Harry Schneider dropped a bombshell:

''Would it surprise you to learn he was released without ever being charged?'' St. Ours looked stunned.

''Yeah,'' he said.

Update: hat tip to ManahManah.
Tabarak was the recognized leader of the prisoners at Gitmo. He's the one who helped Osama escape.

With American forces closing in on him during the battle of Tora Bora in late 2001, Osama bin Laden employed a simple trick against sophisticated United State spy technology to vanish into the mountains that led to Pakistan and sanctuary.

A Moroccan who was one of bin Laden's long-time bodyguards took possession of the al-Qaeda leader's satellite phone on the assumption that US intelligence agencies were monitoring it to get a fix on their position, said senior Moroccan officials, who have interviewed the bodyguard, Abdallah Tabarak.

Tabarak moved away from bin Laden and his entourage as they fled, using the phone to divert the Americans and allow bin Laden to escape. Tabarak was later captured at Tora Bora in possession of the phone.

"He agreed to be captured or die," a Moroccan official said. "That's the level of his fanaticism for bin Laden. It wasn't a lot of time, but it was enough. There is a saying: 'Where there is a frog, the serpent is not far away'."

More than a year later, Tabarak, 43, has become the "emir", or camp leader, of the more than 600 suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban members being held at Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to officials who have visited the military compound twice to interview Moroccan citizens.

Originally posted to FishOutofWater on Fri Jul 25, 2008 at 10:35 AM PDT.

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