The United States has captured the spokesman and son-in-law of slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Jordan and could bring him before a US federal court as early as Friday, US officials said Thursday.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a high-profile al-Qaida operative who appeared in numerous anti-American jihadist videos, was captured in a joint operation between Jordanian security forces, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Rep. Peter King said Friday.
“I trust he received a vigorous interrogation, and will face swift and certain justice,” King, former chairman of the US House of Representatives’ homeland security committee, said in a statement.
The Kuwaiti-born Ghaith was seen sitting next to bin Laden in a video released shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. The US government has described him as al-Qaida’s “official spokesman” after the attacks.
Bin Laden was killed in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in a US Navy Seals operation on May 2, 2011.
Citing US law enforcement officials, US media reported Thursday that Turkish authorities had detained Ghaith for allegedly entering the country on a fake passport. He was subsequently deported to Jordan, where he was apprehended by US operatives, according to the reports.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told a news briefing Thursday that he had seen media reports about Ghaith’s capture but that he could not confirm the detention.
When asked about the reported capture at a news briefing Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said she had no information about the case.
A US federal law enforcement source was cited by CNN as saying that Ghaith will appear in federal court in New York City as early as Friday.