Leslie's Omnibus

Life in the Parsing Lane

A National Security staffer noted that "'There is absolutely no plan to release or transfer the Blind Sheikh,' said National Security Staff spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan. 'Reports saying otherwise are completely and unequivocally false.'"  [emphasis mine] in response to news that negotiations over handing blind Egyptian sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman over to the Egyptian government to finish his confinement with the benefit of being able to visit with friends and family may be currently under discussion.

New Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi has certainly made it clear that he'd like to negotiate a prisoner swap for Abdul-Rahman for "humanitarian reasons,"* and that only "recent incidents around the US embassy in Cairo have delayed efforts in this regard."

A blog post over at RedState points to a Weekly Standard article demonstrating a compelling case that recent attacks on U.S. diplomats in the Middle East have been part of a larger effort to release Abdul-Rahman.

The articles and reports I've seen have not said there is a plan to release Abdul-Rahman -- only that there have been tentative negotiations in that direction underway.  

Hair-splitting is raised to an art form in this nation's capital, and "absolutely no plan" may mean "at this moment".  It does not in any way, shape or form answer the question of whether negotiations may have been or may still be under discussion.  That is the more significant question.

*Such as being allowed visitation with friends and family.  Bear in mind that while under heavy security in  a U.S. prison the blind sheikh was able to pass on marching orders to his network via one of his attorneys until she was caught.  Certainly his visitors and his correspondence would fall under far less scrutiny in Egypt that it would in the states.

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