Hezbollah terrorist mastermind and killer of American troops Ali Mussa Daqduq was in U.S. custody in Iraq and could have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay years ago. Instead, the Obama administration decided to let an Iraqi court try him. In a development that should come as a shock to no one, Daqduq has been cleared of charges, and the latest U.S. extradition request has been denied. The Associated Press reports the unrepentant terror leader might be back out on the streets before the end of Ramadan:
The U.S. believes Ali Mussa Daqduq is a top threat to Americans in the Middle East, and had asked Baghdad to extradite him even before two Iraqi courts found him not guilty of masterminding the 2007 raid on an American military base in the holy Shiite city of Karbala.
But the July 30 decision by the Iraqi central criminal court, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, ordered that Daqduq be freed immediately. It also makes it clear that Iraq believes the legal case against him is over.
“It is not possible to hand him over because the charges were dropped in the same case,” the three-judge panel ruled. “Therefore, the court decided to reject the request to hand over the Lebanese defendant Ali Mussa Daqduq to the U.S. judiciary authorities, and to release him immediately.”
Daqduq was in Iraq to train militants to kill American troops. He is believed to be responsible for the death of five U.S. soldiers, four of whom were captured, tortured and shot execution-style. His release would deny justice for the families of those men, and free him up to plot further attacks on Americans and our allies.
Sen. Jeff Sessions tore into the Obama administration for losing control of the situation:
The Administration had years to transfer Daqduq to our detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, but because the President seemed to lack the political will to do so—I think because of campaign promises he improvidently made—one of the most dangerous, reprehensible terrorists ever in our custody will likely be allowed to go free. We should never have been in this position.
I and others saw this coming and we pleaded with the Administration not to allow it to happen. Sadly, our warnings fell on deaf ears and, sadly, we were proven correct. …
This policy cannot be defended. It has to end. So I urge the President and his team to act forcefully now. It may not be too late. With strong action we may be able to ensure that Daqduq is not released, that he is able to be tried for the murders he committed and the American soldiers he killed.
The Obama administration would argue that this isn’t their fault, that the Status of Forces Agreement required them to hand Daqduq over to the Iraqis when they pulled out. But that’s a cop out. The administration could have informed the Iraqis that, with all due respect, some prisoners are so reprehensible that they are simply not up for negotiation. They could have brought Daqduq to justice when they had the chance. Instead, they rolled the dice on the Iraqi court system, and lost — and the world may be less safe now because of it.