Who Is Abdul Latif Nasser? Joe Biden Releases First Guantánamo Bay Prisoner

On Monday, the Biden administration transferred its first detainee out of Guantánamo Bay, repatriating a Moroccan man who has been held in the notorious prison for nearly two decades on no charge.

The release of Abdul Latif Nasser, 56, first reported by the New York Times, was the first step President Biden took to reduce the prison population, following the footsteps of previous Democratic president Barack Obama.

Nasser, 56, was imprisoned without charge at Guantánamo Bay for 19 years, held indefinitely as a law-of-war detainee in the armed conflict against terrorist group al Qaeda. Many of the detainees at the prison are detained without charges.

Pentagon officials have accused Nasser of being a former Taliban fighter who fought invading U.S. forces in the Tora Bora mountains in late 2001.

He was captured by Pakistani agents that same year and has been languishing in the prison off the coast of Cuba since 2002.

According to a Pentagon memo leaked in 2008, Nasser was born in Casablanca, Morocco on March 4, 1965.

"If released without rehabilitation, close supervision, and means and desire to successfully reintegrate into society as a law-abiding citizen, it is assessed detainee would seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities at home and abroad. Since transfer to JTF-GTMO, detainee has made statements of support for violent terrorist activity. Detainee has threatened US personnel and included references to the 11 September 2001 attacks within his threats," the memo reads.

The memo says Nasser is a member of the al Qaeda military committee subordinate to the al Qaeda Shura Council and has been directly associated with Osama Bin Laden, the deceased head of the terror group, since 1993. U.S. intelligence officials allege that Nasser met with bin Laden in 1995 and that he trained in al Qaeda camps — where, among other things, he was allegedly taught how to use explosives and poisons.

According to the document, Nasser is "probably a former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group member" and continued to withhold information of strategic value for U.S. intelligence. The memo identified him as a high threat.

However, Nasser told an interagency review panel through a representative in 2016 that he "deeply regrets" his past actions. Shortly after, he was cleared for release by the review board and was expected to be sent home shortly after. But due to a series of bureaucratic missteps and delays, he was not released from Guantánamo ahead of Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, and the new administration reversed predecessor Barrack Obama's efforts to depopulate the prison.

"The United States is grateful to the Kingdom of Morocco for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility," a senior Biden administration official told the New York Times on Sunday, while the transfer was underway. The person said the White House was "dedicated to a deliberate and thorough process of responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing the Guantánamo Bay detention facility."

U.S. forces delivered Nasser into Moroccan government custody early on Monday, the New York Times reported. Nasser's lawyer said his family has pledged to find him employment in his brother's swimming pool cleaning business.

Following Nasser's departure, there are now 39 prisoners at Guantánamo, 11 of whom are charged with war crimes.

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The Biden administration released its first inmate from the notorious Guantanamo prison on Monday. In this photograph, U.S. Army Military Police escort a detainee to his cell January 11, 2001 in Camp X-Ray at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Petty Officer 1st class Shane T. McCoy/U.S. Navy/Getty