Abdel Rahman was convicted in 1995 of participating in a seditious conspiracy that included the [Meir] Kahane murder, the 1993 WTC bombing, and a plot to blow up other landmarks in New York and to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak when he visited the United Nations....Mukasey reviews the evidence that the Obama administration is contemplating releasing him, including the "excruciatingly lawyered" sounding statement of officials. For example, Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who, before Congress, asked "whether there is an intention 'at any time to release the Blind Sheikh,'" said, "Well, let me just say this. I know of no such intention."
In 1997, members of Abdel Rahman's organization... murdered more than 60 tourists at Luxor, Egypt, and inserted notes in the body cavities of several victims demanding the Blind Sheik's release. Also in the mid-1990s, Abdel Rahman contrived from jail to issue the fatwa that Osama bin Laden cited as authorization to carry out the 9/11 attacks. The sheik's confinement was on bin Laden's list of grievances meant to justify that atrocity.
... Abdel Rahman has been a totemic figure to Islamists since 1981, when his pronouncements gave a group of Egyptian army officers the spiritual justification for assassinating President Anwar Sadat. The officers were hanged, but Abdel Rahman successfully defended himself at trial by arguing that he had simply been opining on issues of Islamic law and should not face censure for that in a Muslim country.
September 25, 2012
A WSJ op-ed by Michael B. Mukasey, who presided over the trial of Omar Abdel Rahman and sentenced him to life in prison.