Salim Hamdan: Enemy Number One

The inside story of how Salim Hamdan went from bin Laden's side to a U.S. military courtroom--and why the war on terrorism may hang in the balance

Todd Heisler / The New York Times / Redux

After his capture in Afghanistan, Hamdan was sent to Gitmo.

Salim Hamdan had spent two years as a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay when he first met Lieut. Commander Charles Swift, his Pentagon-appointed Navy defense lawyer. At the meeting, Swift suggested the possibility of suing President Bush on Hamdan's behalf.

"This lawsuit, will it make you rich?" Hamdan asked after a long pause.

"No, but it might make me famous," Swift answered. "It might make you famous too."

"I don't want to be famous," Hamdan replied. "I just want to get out of here."

Four and a half years later, Hamdan is still at Guantánamo, but Swift's prediction has proved correct. A...

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