The White House is considering whether to detain international terrorism suspects at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, senior U.S. officials said, an option that would lead to another prison with the same purpose as Guantanamo Bay, which it has promised to close.
The idea, which would require approval by President Obama, already has drawn resistance from within the government. Army Gen. Stanley A. McCrystal, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and other senior officials strongly oppose it, fearing that expansion of the U.S. detention facility at Bagram air base could make the job of stabilizing the country even tougher.
That the option of detaining suspects captured outside Afghanistan at Bagram is being contemplated reflects a recognition by the Obama administration that it has few other places to hold and interrogate foreign prisoners without giving them access to the U.S. court system, the officials said.
"I will close Guananamo!(but open a different prison in another country, because who knew there would be actual problems with closing Gitmo?)
In one case last year, U.S. special operations forces killed an Al Qaeda-linked suspect named Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in a helicopter attack in southern Somalia rather than trying to capture him, a U.S. official said. Officials had debated trying to take him alive but decided against doing so in part because of uncertainty over where to hold him, the official added.
U.S. officials find such options unappealing for handling suspects they want to question but lack the evidence to prosecute. For such suspects, a facility such as Bagram, north of Kabul, remains necessary, officials said, even as they acknowledged that having it in Afghanistan could complicate McCrystal's mission.
"No one particularly likes any of the choices before us right now, but Bagram may be the least bad among them," a senior Defense official said.
This is one of the end results of Obama & Holder & Co. trying to play "Terrorists and illegal combatants are just muggers writ large and get a civil trial."
Speaking of AG Eric Holder,
Byron York notes that the Department of Justice has delayed today’s appearance of Eric Holder to the Senate Judiciary Committee after a “disastrous” hearing earlier this month. The Attorney General made headlines when he dodged a question regarding the handling of terrorists by claiming that the US would wind up reading Miranda rights to Osama bin Laden’s corpse:
Why? Word is that it’s because of the signing ceremony for the national health care bill, but well-informed Republicans suspect the occasion may also have given Democrats an opportunity to put off what could turn into another embarrassing performance by the attorney general....
A source on Capitol Hill confirmed to me that the White House used the ObamaCare signing as their reason to postpone Holder’s appearance at Judiciary. However, the real reason could be a series of embarrassing admissions in a submission to the committee from the DoJ. Judiciary had asked for answers on the oft-claimed “hundreds” of terrorists tried in the federal court system, as well as an explanation of how the federal court system can protect national-security information as well as military commissions. According to this source, the DoJ’s answers confirm exactly what had been suspected — that Holder has not been telling the truth on either point:
In responses submitted to the Judiciary Committee this afternoon, the Department of Justice concedes that military commission trials have better safeguards for protecting classified national security information from leaks than civilian criminal trials. Although Attorney General Holder has repeatedly testified that civilian criminal trials are just as effective as military commission trials in protecting classified information, even stating that classified information protections in the Military Commissions Act were modeled on the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) used in federal courts, the responses received today (see pp. 29-32) tell a different story. They acknowledge that the MCA’s classified information protections are better than what is available in federal criminal courts. In fact, the responses explain how the military commission rules improved upon the civilian criminal rules “to take into account lessons learned in terrorism cases in federal court.” The Department’s submission to the Committee then details 7 categories of “key differences” between the classified information protections in military commission trials that are not similarly present in the federal criminal law.
Translation: Holder lied, got caught, and doesn't want to get caught lying again. Wonderful guy you appointed and your tame Senate passed, Obama.