Along with the military secrets about flawed evidence used to keep and release prisoners, the Gitmo detainee files leaked Sunday also exposed some chilling revelations about a “small circle” of Al Qaeda operatives who plotted ways to follow up September 11. None of the terrorist schemes were ever attempted, and the information relies on testimony extracted by Guantánamo interrogators, but it’s still pretty disturbing. Saifullah Paracha, one of the oldest of the 172 detainees still imprisoned, was a successful businessman and onetime New York travel agent. Paracha offered his experience in the shipping industry to 9/11 plotter Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to help move plastic explosives inside containers of women’s and children’s clothing.
Co-conspirators interrogated at Gitmo say Paracha wanted to “do something big against the U.S.” According to the New York Times, other plots discussed in the files, though not acted upon, include “plans for a new wave of aircraft attacks on the West Coast, filling an apartment with leaked natural gas and detonating it, blowing up gas stations and even cutting the cables holding up the Brooklyn Bridge.”