Gitmo Trial Describes al-Qaeda Inner Circle

Driver was key member of organization: prosecutor
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2008 3:02 PM CDT
Gitmo Trial Describes al-Qaeda Inner Circle
In this image reviewed by the U.S. Military, a Guantanamo detainee holds onto a fence on the grounds of the maximum security prison at Camp 5, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, June 26, 2006.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Arguments in the trial of Salim Hamdan gave a view of al-Qaeda's inner circle today, as prosecutors opened by painting Osama bin Laden's driver as a key member of the organization, the Miami Herald reports. The lead prosecutor depicted Hamdan as a constant presence in high-level al-Qaeda operations and argued that he knew the destination of the fourth plane hijacked on 9/11.

Hamdan’s lawyer said he accepted the job as Bin Laden’s chauffer out of simple financial necessity: “There is no evidence that he espoused, embraced, believed extremist Islamic beliefs. He needed a job.” After the opening statements, testimony began with the Army major who captured Hamdan at a checkpoint in Afghanistan taking the stand, Reuters reports. (More Salim Ahmed Hamdan stories.)

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