On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the riots aimed against the U.S. embassy in Egypt were largely an effort to pressure the Obama administration to release Omar Abdel Rahman. Rahman is the blind sheikh who was convicted of seditious conspiracy for planning the 1993 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and sentenced to life in prison. He is idolized by the Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt, who have demanded his release in meetings with U.S. officials.
Andrew McCarthy was a member of the federal prosecution team that convicted Rahman and his followers. He says the new Egyptian leaders have been very open about demanding Rahman's release and the Obama administration seems to be receptive to the idea.
McCarthy says Obama could very easily end the speculation by rejecting the idea publicly. Instead, McCarthy points out that the White House has arranged a meeting with an Egyptian official named Hani Nour Eldin, who is an ardent follower of the blind sheikh.
"If you or I were to give any assistance to this guy we'd be committing a serious federal felony of material support to terrorism," says McCarthy. "Yet the Obama administration not only issued him a visa, they actually invited him to the White House to consult on the future of Egypt with our top national security officials."
McCarthy says he does not believe State Department assurances that no negotiations have taken place for the release of Rahman. Nonetheless, McCarthy expects Rahman to be released between Election Day and Inauguration Day regardless of whether Obama wins.