WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden’s spokesman and son-in-law has been captured by U.S. intelligence officials, a senior congressman said Thursday, calling it a “very significant victory” in the ongoing fight against al-Qaida.
Rep. Peter King, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, credited the CIA and FBI with catching Sulaiman Abu Ghaith in Jordan within the last week. He said the capture was confirmed to him by U.S. law enforcement officials.
King, R-N.Y., said Ghaith took part in the Sept. 11, 2001, plot against the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
“Definitely, one by one, we are getting the top echelons of al-Qaida,” King said Thursday. “I give the [Obama] administration credit for this: It’s steady and it’s unrelenting and it’s very successful.”
The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported that Ghaith was passing through Jordan, on his way to Kuwait, shortly after leaving Turkey.
The newspaper said that Ghaith was taken into custody more than a month ago at a luxury hotel in in Ankara, the Turkish capital. But Turkish officials decided he had not committed any crime in Turkey, and released him, the newspaper reported.
In Ankara, Turkish officials refused to confirm Ghaith’s deportation or his capture in Jordan to The Associated Press. In Amman, the Jordanian capital, a security official said he had no information on the CIA arrest in Jordan.
U.S. intelligence officials in Washington did not immediately respond to request for information about Ghaith.