Abu Faraj al-Libbi

Abu Faraj al-Libi
Born 1 November 1970[1]
Tripoli, Libya[2]
Arrested Near Peshawar, Pakistan
Pakistani ISI
Detained at CIA black sites, Guantanamo Bay detention camps
ISN 10017
Status Still held in Guantanamo

Abu Faraj al-Libi (/ˈɑːb ˈfɑːrɑː æl ˈlbi/ ( listen) AH-boo FAH-rahj al LEE-bee; ; أو الفرج الليبي) (also transliterated al-Libbi ) is an assumed name or nom de guerre of a Libyan alleged to be a senior member of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. His real name is Mustafa Faraj Muhammad Muhammad Masud al-Jadid al-Uzaybi.[3][4] He was arrested by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on May 2, 2005, in Mardan (30 mi (48 km) north of Peshawar). Finding al-Libi was a joint effort of the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) Special Activities Division and Pakistan's Special Forces.

Since September 2006, al-Libbi has been held in American military custody in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp,[4] having previously been held at a secret location.[5]

According to the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, he served as the third in command of al-Qaeda, from the 2003 capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to his own capture in 2005.[6]


In approximately 2000, al-Libbi was living in the Karte Parwan district of Kabul, Afghanistan.[7]

In August 2004, Pakistani officials stated that al-Libbi had become "number three" in al-Qaeda as "director of operations", a role once filled by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.[8][9]

Upon al-Libbi's arrest on May 2, 2005, U.S. and Pakistani authorities continued to claim him as the third most important figure in al-Qaeda. According to the BBC and Voice of America (VOA) reports, he was riding pillion on a motorbike when he and his driver were ambushed by Pakistani agents, some of whom were wearing burqas. A VOA reporter from Mardan said that while being apprehended, al-Libbi tried to destroy a notebook, which U.S. agents took and have tried to decode.

U.S. agents had been trying to find al-Libbi as a link to finding Osama bin Laden. After they intercepted a mobile phone call made by him, they targeted his location to a busy road a quarter of a mile away on the outskirts of Mardan, about 75 mi (121 km) northwest of Islamabad, and tipped-off Pakistani authorities. Plainclothes Pakistani agents arrived in Mardan and waited for him to arrive.

Abu Faraj al-Libbi was identified by Pakistani authorities as the main planner of the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot.[10] He is also a suspect in two assassination attempts against Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf.[4] According to The New York Times, "Mr. Libbi's suspected accomplice in those attacks was a well-known Pakistani militant named Amjad Farooqi, who was also implicated in the murder of the 'Wall Street Journal' reporter Daniel Pearl in February 2002. Mr. Farooqi was killed last September in a shootout with security forces in southern Pakistan."[11]

In the early reporting of this capture, there was confusion between the names and identities of Abu Faraj al-Libbi and another wanted al-Qaeda fugitive, Anas al-Liby.[12] Al-Libi is not a surname, but an adjective, meaning the Libyan. Such adjectives of nationality are used in nicknames, and sometimes to resolve ambiguity; they often have several alternative English transliterations.

Scholars at the Brookings Institution, led by Benjamin Wittes, listed the captives still held in Guantanamo in December 2008, according to whether their detention was justified by certain common allegations:[13]

  • Abu Faraj Libi was listed as one of the captives who was a member of the "al Qaeda leadership cadre".[13]
  • Abu Faraj Libi was listed as one of the "82 detainees made no statement to CSRT or ARB tribunals or made statements that do not bear materially on the military's allegations against them."[13]

Joint Review Task Force

On January 21, 2009, the day he was inaugurated, United States President Barack Obama issued three executive orders related to the detention of individuals in Guantanamo.[14][15][16][17] That new review system was composed of officials from six departments, where the OARDEC reviews were conducted entirely by the Department of Defense. When it reported back, a year later, the Joint Review Task Force classified some individuals as too dangerous to be transferred from Guantanamo, even though there was no evidence to justify laying charges against them. On April 9, 2013, that document was made public after a Freedom of Information Act request.[18] Mustafa Faraj Muhammad Masud al-Jadid al-Uzaybi was one of the 71 individuals deemed too innocent to charge, but too dangerous to release. Obama said those deemed too innocent to charge, but too dangerous to release would start to receive reviews from a Periodic Review Board.

Periodic Review Board

The first review wasn't convened until November 20, 2013.[19]


  1. http://www.prs.mil/Portals/60/Documents/ISN10017/160331_U_ISN10017_GOVERNMENTS_UNCLASSIFIED_SUMMARY_PUBLIC.pdf
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/guantanamo/detainees/10017-abu-faraj-al-libi/documents/11
  3. "National news from McClatchy DC News | Washington DC" (PDF). Media.mcclatchydc.com. Retrieved 2014-08-24.
  4. 1 2 3 Press release about Abu Faraj Archived 20090831000000 at WebCite and 13 other suspects, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  5. Bush: CIA holds terror suspects in secret prisons, CNN, 7 September 2006
  6. "Detainee Biographies". Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-08-31.
  7. Shephard, Michelle, "Guantanamo's Child", 2008.
  8. Al Qaeda has new operational chief: analysts, CTV, 20 August 2005
  9. Hunt on for bin Laden's latest No. 3 man - US Security, MSNBC, 7 September 2004
  10. /0,,1851859,00.html Duncan Campbell, "Pakistan says al-Qaida link to plot found", The Guardian, 17 August 2006
  11. Pakistan Reports Arrest of a Senior Qaeda Leader, The New York Times, 5 May 2005
  12. "Security Sources: The U.S. Confused "Abu Anas" with "Abu Faraj" al Libi", ABC News, 5 March 2007
  13. 1 2 3 Benjamin Wittes, Zaathira Wyne (2008-12-16). "The Current Detainee Population of Guantánamo: An Empirical Study". The Brookings Institution. Archived from the original on 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2010-02-16.
  14. Andy Worthington (2012-10-25). "Who Are the 55 Cleared Guantánamo Prisoners on the List Released by the Obama Administration?". Retrieved 2015-02-19. I have already discussed at length the profound injustice of holding Shawali Khan and Abdul Ghani, in articles here and here, and noted how their cases discredit America, as Khan, against whom no evidence of wrongdoing exists, nevertheless had his habeas corpus petition denied, and Ghani, a thoroughly insignificant scrap metal merchant, was put forward for a trial by military commission — a war crimes trial — under President Bush.
  15. Andy Worthington (June 11, 2010). "Does Obama Really Know or Care About Who Is at Guantánamo?". Archived from the original on 2010-06-16. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  16. Peter Finn (January 22, 2010). "Justice task force recommends about 50 Guantanamo detainees be held indefinitely". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2015-05-19. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  17. Peter Finn (May 29, 2010). "Most Guantanamo detainees low-level fighters, task force report says". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2015-05-19. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  18. "71 Guantanamo Detainees Determined Eligible to Receive a Periodic Review Board as of April 19, 2013". Joint Review Task Force. 2013-04-09. Archived from the original on 2015-05-19. Retrieved 2015-05-18.
  19. "Periodic Review Secretariat: Review Information". Periodic Review Secretariat. Archived from the original on 2016-04-15.
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