On Monday, TheBlaze was the first to report about the story surrounding Egypt, the Obama administration and Omar Abdel-Rahman, the infamous "Blind Sheik." According to a source close to the Obama administration, the U.S. State Department has been actively considering negotiations with the Egyptian government for a transfer of custody of the sheik.
This news was subsequently picked up by Fox News. Then, on Thursday, The New York Post also cited a source who corroborated the story. The outlet backed up the report that TheBlaze initially broke, writing:
The Obama administration is weighing the release of blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman — the spiritual adviser to the 1993 World Trade Center bombers — in a stunning goodwill gesture toward Egypt that has touched off a political firestorm, officials said yesterday.
The Egyptian government “asked for his release,” an administration source told The Post — and Rep. Peter King (R-LI) confirmed the request is being considered.
The White House, State Department and Justice Department each issued statements denying any deal is in the works, but, “There’s no way to believe anything they say,” said Andrew McCarthy, the former assistant US attorney who prosecuted Abdel-Rahman. “I believe there may already be a nod-and-wink agreement in place.”
The article adds fuel to questions surrounding the administration's alleged internal discussions. On Wednesday, TheBlaze reported that the State Department, after officially deferring questions to the Justice Department, has now denied any reported plans to release Rahman.
“Let me say as clearly as I can, there is no plan to release the Blind Sheikh – there is no plan,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “To my knowledge we have not been approached about it recently by any senior Egyptians.”
On Wednesday night, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor added, "The blind sheik is going to serve out his life sentence. There are no discussions about transferring him. These reports are wrong."
Still, the administration has not answered repeated questions about whether any discussions took place in the past regarding the possibility.
TheBlaze's source on the initial story said that State Department officials have discussed whether to engage in talks to transfer Rahman in an effort to ease tensions with Egypt. This prospect was described as being "actively considered" by the Obama administration.
Considering recent events, the implications of this story are profound. Many have pinpointed a cause of last week‘s unrest in in the country to be protests over the Blind Sheikh’s release — not an anti-Muslim YouTube video, as many have contended. The Post, too, tackled this assertion, writing:
Newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, has publicly vowed to press the United States to turn over the sightless sheik.
His incarceration was the subject of Arabic-language message-board rants two days before protesters stormed the US Embassy in Cairo and later killed the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, according to a Department of Homeland Security report obtained by Fox News.
As previously reported, The Blind Sheikh is currently serving a life sentence in American prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
- ‘The Five’ Attacks TheBlaze Over Blind Sheikh Story: ‘This Report Is B.S.’
- State Department Refuses to Address Report on Internal Discussion About Custody of ‘Blind Sheikh’
- Read the Letter Sent by House GOP Members to Sec. of State and Attorney General Demanding U.S. Not Release Blind Sheikh
- After 20 Years in Prison, the ‘Blind Sheikh’ is Back in the News; Here’s What You Need to Know About Him
- Source: State Department Considering Talks to Transfer ‘Blind Sheikh’ to Egypt