But Iranian authorities soon nabbed the group; local officials said they were "in jail," though the US was uncertain of the details. "It was the blackest of black boxes," one US source says. After that, the US heard little from the group, other than intercepting some "non-operational" messages. Iran may have been using the detainees as hostages against al-Qaeda attack, some in the US believed. Ultimately, Washington officials saw the group—out of the al-Qaeda loop for years—as little threat. It's unclear whether Abu Ghaith escaped or was released.