In her June 1 piece, “Policy and Legal Implications of European Court’s Ruling on CIA ‘Black Sites,’” Katherine Cheasty Kornman makes a serious factual error about our client, Abu Zubaydah. Her article states that he “is alleged to have been Al Qaeda’s chief of operations.” In fact, it is now well established that he was not even a member of Al Qaeda and the government makes no such allegation. The highly authoritative Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Executive Summary of its Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, published in December 2014, confirms the former point at page 410: “The CIA later concluded that Abu Zubaydah was not a member of Al Qaeda.” Moreover, our client was recently delisted by the United Nations Security Council from the ISIS Al Qaeda sanctions list, based on the recommendation of the UN Ombudsperson who also concluded that he was not a member of Al Qaeda. Finally, despite public misrepresentations regarding our client following his capture in 2002, the government itself no longer alleges his membership in Al Qaeda, still less that he was ‘chief of operations’. This is made clear by Abu Zubaydah’s habeas corpus litigation where no such allegation appears.
You will appreciate that the reiteration of false information of this type has serious implications for our client and the public appreciation of the issues at the heart of his case, which Ms. Kornman’s article quite rightly seeks to expose.
George Brent Mickum
The Law Office of Charles R. Church, LLC.
Editors’ note: An earlier version of the article, “Policy and Legal Implications of European Court’s Ruling on CIA ‘Black Sites’,” incorrectly stated that Abu Zubaydah is still alleged to have been Al Qaeda’s chief of operations. Just Security regrets the error.