Top administration officials are getting nervous that they may not be able to proceed with one of their most controversial national-security moves: trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused 9/11 conspirators in federal court in New York City. Last November Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. portrayed the trial as a way to showcase the American justice system to the world—and to accelerate President Obama's stalled plans to shut down the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. But because of shifting political winds in Congress, the trial is now "potentially in jeopardy," a senior official, who did not want to be named talking about a sensitive situation, tells NEWSWEEK. The chief concern: that Republicans will renew attempts to strip funding for the trial and, in the aftermath of the bombing attempt aboard Northwest Flight 253, pick up enough support from moderate Democrats to prevail.Part of the shifting political winds includes the election of Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, which occurred after this blog entry was published. Brown opposes giving civilian trials to captured terrorists.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Newsweek's Michael Isikoff claims that the KSM trial in NYC may not necessarily go forward:
CNN's Jack Cafferty used to be one of the Bush administration's most vociferous critics. Lately, Democrat leaders in Washington have become the subject of his wrath. In this clip, he calls the Pentagon's 86-page report on the Ft. Hood shooting rampage a joke and a politically correct whitewash:
It's incredible that this proposed legislation is even necessary, but as the saying goes, it is what it is:
Senator Susan Collins, R-Me., Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced legislation Thursday to require that U.S. intelligence officials be consulted following a foreign terrorist’s detention by the United States.
The legislation would address a serious error that occurred in the handling of the so-called Christmas Day terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was charged in civilian criminal court.
At a Homeland Security Committee meeting Wednesday, Senator Collins learned during her questioning of witnesses that none of the three top U.S. intelligence officials had been consulted about that important decision. The determination to place Abdulmutallab into the U.S. civilian court system was made without their input or knowledge.
Senator Collins said this mistake “may have prevented the collection of valuable intelligence about future terrorist threats to the United States. Frankly, I was stunned to learn that the decision to place the captured terrorist into the U.S. civilian criminal court system had been made without the input or the knowledge of any of those three top intelligence officials:the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and the Secretary of Homeland Security."
“These officials were never consulted by the Department of Justice. The decision was made without them.”
A committee made up of officials from the Justice Department, Defense Department, DHS, State Department, and CIA and FBI has determined that some detainees must stay locked up for the duration:
A Justice Department-led task force has concluded that nearly 50 of the 196 detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should be held indefinitely without trial under the laws of war, according to Obama administration officials.
The task force's findings represent the first time that the administration has clarified how many detainees it considers too dangerous to release but unprosecutable because officials fear trials could compromise intelligence-gathering and because detainees could challenge evidence obtained through coercion.
Human rights advocates have bemoaned the administration's failure to fulfill President Obama's promise last January to close the Guantanamo Bay facility within a year as well as its reliance on indefinite detention, a mechanism devised during George W. Bush's administration that they deem unconstitutional.[Source: Washington Post]