The Washington Post reports:
U.S. authorities have long considered Mohammed al-Qahtani one of the most dangerous alleged terrorists in U.S. custody, a man who could have been the 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11, 2001, plot if he had not been denied entry into the country.
But yesterday, amid concerns about using information obtained during abusive military interrogations, a top Pentagon official removed Qahtani from the military commission case meant to bring justice to those behind the vast Sept. 11 conspiracy. . . .
Prosecutors reserve the right to charge Qahtani again, and the military says it can hold him without trial for the duration of the counterterrorism wars. But his defense lawyers and officials familiar with the case say it is unlikely that Qahtani will face new charges because he was subjected to aggressive Defense Department interrogation techniques -- such as intimidation by dogs, hooding, nudity, long-term isolation and stress positions.
Those techniques were later rescinded because of concerns about their legality. In 2005, an official military investigation concluded that Qahtani's interrogation regimen amounted to abuse.
Officials close to the case said Crawford's office was reluctant to sanction the charges against Qahtani because prosecutors had little evidence against him outside of his own coerced confessions, a point that most certainly would have become a central issue at trial.
The Post story also contains this little tidbit: Former Defense Department official Charles "Cully" Stimson (the subject of these posts) is now at the Heritage Foundation.