US: Top al-Qaida figure captured, taken to Guantanamo

After secret interrogations, the CIA transferred to US military custody a high-level al-Qaida figure who helped Osama bin Laden escape from Afghanistan in 2001, the Defense Department announced Friday. Mohammad Rahim was captured last summer in Lahore, Pakistan, according to a diplomatic official who spoke on condition of anonymity because intelligence matters are involved. Rahim later was handed over to the CIA, which after interrogating him, turned him over to the US military this week. In a message to agency employees Friday, CIA Director Michael Hayden said it was the first such transfer from his agency's interrogation program since April 2007. Rahim is now being held at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Hayden said. "Rahim's detention in the summer of 2007 was a blow to more than one terrorist network," Hayden told agency employees in a memo obtained by The Associated Press. "He gave aid to al-Qaida, the Taliban and other anti-coalition militants."