In the aftermath of the attacks on America on Sept.11, 2001, there were two days that I recall feeling a sense of pride unlike anything I had experienced in my lifetime.
On that Friday, Sept.14, then-President George W. Bush came to what had become known as Ground Zero and told the world that those responsible for attacking New York City, and Washington, D.C. would be held accountable.
No one doubted his words.
Six days later, I joined first lady Laura Bush at the U.S. Capitol as President Bush addressed Congress with an unprecedented message of unity, and again, in a voice heard around the world, committed to hunting down those responsible for the horrendous attacks on 9/11, and bringing them to justice.
I believed him, as did New York City’s first responders, as did the family members of those lost in the attacks, and as did, anyone else who was listening.
Close to 22 years later, that unity is long gone, as is the desire to hold those accountable that were responsible for the most substantial terror attack in world history, and supporting global terrorism.
That became evident yesterday as Majid Khan, a Pakistani national walked out of Guantanamo Bay, on his way to Belize after spending 20 years in captivity.
"Today, I feel like I am reborn. I have reentered the world . . . I’m in a little bit of shock because I have been waiting so long to be free, and I can hardly believe it has finally happened." Khan said in a statement.
Khan had actually grown up in Maryland and returned to Pakistan to join al-Qaida after the Sept. 11 attacks.
He was subsequently captured close to 20 years ago and was sentenced in 2021, to 10 years in prison with time served, for allegedly cooperating with U.S. authorities in the war on terror.
He pleaded guilty — conspiracy to commit murder, spying and "providing material support for terrorism."
In a 2014 U.S. Senate report, that documented the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program, Khan was mentioned as being one of the detainees that was subjected torture techniques used on prisoners, at their facilities.
It is reported that Belize has a program that prepares terror prisoners from Guantanamo for resettlement into their country, supposedly for humanitarian reasons.
Knowing that horror and devastation of the attacks of 9/11, Khan then decided to join al-Qaida, and conspired to murder Americans, and provide al-Qaida with intelligence and support for their jihad against the United States.
Nearly 3,000 people died on 9/11; thousands more have died since, both first responders in New York City, and in our armed forces abroad.
Khan and his comrades were responsible for those deaths, yet allowed to walk out of Guantanamo Bay, and trot off to the resort country of Belize.
What happened to being held accountable?
What happened to insuring those responsible could never carry out these acts again.
Back in 2001, then Sen. Joe Biden talked a good game. He was Mr. United! "We will not rest . . . we’ll never forget," and "we’ll never give up," but he has.
Allowing Khan and others like him to be freed, to return to the evil for which they were initially captured, is the ultimate betrayal, and for that, he should never be forgiven.
Bernard B. Kerik was the 40th Police Commissioner of the New York City Police Department and is a New York Times bestselling author. Read Bernard Kerik's Reports — More Here.
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