New Gitmo Hearing for Osama Driver

Third trial for man who drove bin Laden in 9/11 escape
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Dec 7, 2007 6:30 AM CST
Salim Ahmed Hamdan is seen in this undated file photo provided by Prof. Neal Katyal. Hamdan admitted he was a driver for Osama bin Laden and knew of the al-Qaida leader's role in the Sept. 11 attack,...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – The man who drove Osama bin Laden when he evacuated his compound just before  9/11 was the subject of a hearing yesterday on whether he can be tried as an unlawful enemy combatant. Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who was paid $200 a month as a driver and bodyguard for bin Laden, later heard the al Qaeda leader say he had expected up to 1,500 deaths in the attacks and was pleased that there were more, according to an FBI agent who interviewed him at Gitmo.

Hamdan insists he was merely a driver and bodyguard, and not a member of Al Qaeda or a terrorist; a judge dismissed charges against him in a previous trial. Hamdan was captured in 2001 driving a car carrying two rockets without their launching mechanisms. He was not armed and did not resist arrest, unlike three other men apprehended in an accompanying van, said an FBI witness.