Tom Hilton nailed it on Friday, when we first learned that a released Guantanamo prisoner had been identified as deputy leader of Al-Qaeda in Yemen:
My first reaction on hearing about it was, 'who leaked this'? The timing struck me as a little too convenient, coming on the heels of Obama's executive order on Guantanamo. The answer is in the story:
His status was announced in an Internet statement by the militant group and was confirmed by an American counterterrorism official. [emphasis added]
... the big story is that al Qaeda is trying to sabotage efforts to close Guantanamo.
...Guantanamo has made us less safe, not more; if you don't believe me, just ask al Qaeda.
And, more specifically, the decision to close Guantanamo has made America seem less worthy of hate in the Arab and Muslim world, not more.
Today, The Washington Post reinforces Tom's point:
To Combat Obama, Al-Qaeda Hurls Insults
Soon after the November election, al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader took stock of America's new president-elect and dismissed him with an insulting epithet. "A house Negro," Ayman al-Zawahiri said.
That was just a warm-up. In the weeks since, the terrorist group has unleashed a stream of verbal tirades against Barack Obama, each more venomous than the last. Obama has been called a "hypocrite," a "killer" of innocents, an "enemy of Muslims." He was even blamed for the Israeli military assault on Gaza, which began and ended before he took office....
The torrent of hateful words is part of what terrorism experts now believe is a deliberate, even desperate, propaganda campaign against a president who appears to have gotten under al-Qaeda's skin. The departure of George W. Bush deprived al-Qaeda of a polarizing American leader who reliably drove recruits and donations to the terrorist group....
Friday, a new al-Qaeda salvo attempted to embarrass Obama, a day after the new president announced his plans for closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Appearing on the videotaped message were two men who enlisted in al-Qaeda after being freed from that detention center....
Yes, there are now two reported Gitmo detainees in the video. One of them also, according to a CNN story on Friday, "attended a media session" in which the commander of Al-Qaeda in Yeman was interviewed for the group's magazine, Sada al-Malahim (Echo of the Epics). Judging from this post at the monitoring site jihadica.com, it appears that the issue of the magazine in which that interview appeared was dated ... January 19, 2009.
By the way, that jihadica.com post begins:
Al-Qaida in Yemen (AQY) has released the seventh issue of its magazine Sada al-Malahim (SM), adding to the mounting evidence that the group is thriving. The slick 44-page publication contains no less than 30 articles by 23 different pen names. Many of the latter are no doubt invented, but the issue must be the work of a well-run media cell of a certain size. An undated picture on p. 16 showing 20 people training in the desert, as well as note on p. 12 inviting readers to submit questions to the journal's gmail address, suggest that AQY is not about to collapse any time soon....
That happened on George W. Bush's watch -- one more ball the Bush administration didn't keep its eye on, while it mired 150,000 troops in a country where the dictator we overthrew had never allowed Al-Qaeda to establish a foothold.