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Secret U.S. assessment of Omar Khadr disclosed by WikiLeaks

Canadian defendant Omar Khadr attends his hearing in the courthouse for the U.S. military war crimes commission at the Camp Justice compound on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, Wednesday, April 28, 2010.

Janet Hamlin/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Teenaged Canadian captive Omar Khadr was deemed to be a "high risk" prisoner and the son of al-Qaeda's "fourth in command," according to a "secret" 2004 intelligence assessment by U.S. military officials.

The document surfaced early Monday through WikiLeaks, as part of a new round of disclosures of once-classified U.S. reports.

The latest WikiLeaks data dump involves previously classified Pentagon intelligence assessments of hundreds of alleged al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners sent to the controversial American military prison that exists on leased land in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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The newly released assessment sheds few new details about Mr. Khadr, who was captured as a 15-year-old al-Qaeda fighter in Afghanistan in 2002.

Mr. Khadr was arrested and interrogated by U.S. forces after a deadly firefight in which he was nearly mortally wounded. He has since pleaded guilty to killing an American soldier who died in the same battle.

Most of the allegations made against him in the 2004 document were eventually aired at last year's military commission, where Mr. Khadr pleaded guilty to a variety of alleged war crimes. He is to be released to Canada later this year.

The Khadrs, a family of Canadian citizens radicalized by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, fled that country as the United States invaded in 2001.

From a sanctuary in Pakistan, the patriarch of the clan sent Omar back into Afghanistan after al-Qaeda commanders leaned on the family to provide them an English-speaking son who could help resist American soldiers.

The patriarch, Ahmed Said Khadr, was killed in a gun battle with the Pakistani military in 2003.

Though long described as a close friend of Osama bin Laden and an alleged terrorist financier, the elder Mr. Khadr has almost never been affixed a definitive spot in the al-Qaeda command structure. Yet the intelligence assessment asserts he had had one.

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"Detainee's father is a senior al-Qaeda financier and reportedly the fourth in command underneath Usama bin Laden in the al-Qaida organization," the assessment says.

The WikiLeaks site suggests another intelligence assessment of a Khadr family member may be posted imminently.

Abdelrahman Khadr, Omar's older brother, was held in Guantanamo Bay for a few months in 2002. After his release, the older brother appeared on national Canadian television to describe how he was let go after only after agreeing to work as a spy for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

The 2004 intelligence assessment of Omar Khadr urged his continued incarceration, claiming that he had "high intelligence value" and that he was "likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests or its allies."

Signed by U.S. Army Major-General Geoffrey Miller, the assessment asserts that Omar Khadr "excelled at his training in Afghanistan, which included small arms, explosives training, IEDs, [improvised explosive devices]mines, mine laying, and configuring IEDs for remote detonation using handheld devices .... Detainee admits to having participated in several mining operations and harassing attacks against U.S. Forces, in addition to throwing the grenade that killed a U.S. Soldier."

The assessment adds that Omar Khadr "provided valuable information on the Derunta, Al-Farouq and Khalden training camps, indicating that the detainee has been to and likely trained at these locations."

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About the Author
National security reporter

Focusing on Canadian matters during the past decade, Colin Freeze has reported extensively on the interplay between government, police, spy services, and the judiciary. Colin has twice been to Afghanistan to be embedded with the Canadian military. More

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