The Justice Department document says Rahim began helping the Taliban in the 1990s and that job morphed into working for al-Qaida. It cites two other prisoners and an undisclosed source identifying Rahim as a close associate of bin Laden. Rahim was captured in Pakistan in 2007 and turned over to the CIA, in whose custody he was subjected to prolonged sleep deprivation. He was transferred to Guantanamo in March 2008.
In photos taken by the Red Cross at Camp 7, and obtained by the AP from the prisoner’s family in Afghanistan, Rahim has a long flowing beard. In one, he smiles broadly at the camera.
The first letters from Rahim released by Warner were in June, including one in which he disclosed that Majid Khan, a former Maryland resident who pleaded guilty to aiding al-Qaida, had acquired a cat at Camp 7, which AP reported at the time. The Pentagon and prison officials declined comment and said they could not discuss conditions of confinement for high-value detainees, although they added that prisoners are not permitted to have pets.
The rest of the letters came during or after subsequent visits by Warner, who had them cleared by the military before releasing them to the AP. None are more than a few sentences, and contain many typographical errors, which have been corrected for this story for the sake of clarity.
In one, Rahim returns to the theme of his fellow prisoner’s alleged cat. ‘‘I want a dog,’’ he writes. ‘‘I will train my dog to chase Majid Khan’s cat.’’
In separate notes, he asks Warner to appeal for help from radio personality Howard Stern. ‘‘If he is the ‘King of All Media’ he can help me.’’
In another, he criticizes Fox News’ ‘‘Fair and Balanced’’ slogan, writing that if that were true the channel ‘‘would not have to say it every five minutes.’’
How he came by this information is not clear. A prison spokesman, Navy Capt. Robert Durand, won’t discuss life in Camp 7 but he says that ‘‘where satellite television and radio is available for detainees,’’ they have access to a wide variety of channels in Arabic, Farsi, English, Russian, Spanish and other languages. The line-up, however, apparently does not include Howard Stern or Fox.
With no Internet access, he could have picked up such information from other shows or through Warner, who has spent hours with him and delivered magazines such as Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and The Economist.
The U.S. military will not say when or if Rahim will be charged. His name does not appear on the list of detainees who have been cleared for release from Guantanamo and his name was not among those mentioned as possible candidates for an exchange with the Taliban as part of a peace deal.
Associated Press writer Paisley Dodds in London contributed to this report.