Following up on various reports that the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi may have been related to the desired release of Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the "Blind Sheikh," Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Penn.) on Wednesday pressed Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy to state unequivocally that the State Department will not consider the "transfer or release" of the Blind Sheikh from U.S. custody.
Meehan did not get the answer he was looking for during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, however, Kennedy said he would try to get the official State Department position on the record for him.
"Reports have been made, public reports, in which it has been stated that the imprisoned Omar Abdel-Rahman brigades -- this was on CNN -- is believed to have possibly been one of the groups that is suspected of carrying out these terrorist attacks," Meehan said.
Meehan then asked: "Are you aware of any determinations at this point in time, in which there's been any discussions within the State Department for the potential transfer or release of the Blind Sheikh from American security?"
"I am unaware of any such discussions, sir," Kennedy replied.
This prompted Meehan to follow up by asking Kennedy if he would make a concrete statement that the State Department would not entertain the transfer or release of Rahman. Kennedy said he could not answer the question.
"I'm not going to appear to avoid that question, but I am the undersecretary of state for management. I have a series of responsibilities and that is a question I will be glad to take for the record to get a complete state department position for you," he said.
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TheBlaze was the first to report, citing sources close to the Obama administration, that the State Department was "actively considering" transferring the Blind Sheikh into Egyptian custody. The Department of Justice has called the allegations "utter garbage."
Since then, Egypt's President Mohammad Morsi said he will do "everything in his power" to secure freedom for detainees, including Rahman.