A collection of newsworthy information as reported from newspapers, magazines, and blogs.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Facts Hinder Republican Smear Tactics
By the time he became Attorney General, the Bush Administration had moved Mohammed—whom the C.I.A. took into custody seven years ago, in Pakistan—from a black-site prison to Guantánamo. His prosecution was complicated by the fact that C.I.A. interrogators had subjected him to torture, including at least a hundred and eighty-three sessions of waterboarding.
Amy Jeffress, Holder’s national-security adviser, set up three interagency task forces to review the detainees’ cases. But the challenge proved far greater than expected. “There was no file for each detainee,” Jeffress told me. “The information was scattered all over the government. You’d look at what the Department of Defense had, and it was something, but, as a prosecutor, it wasn’t what you’d like to see as evidence. . . . It was pretty thin stuff.” The Bush Administration, she said, clearly “hadn’t planned on prosecuting anyone. Instead, it was ‘Let’s take a shortcut and put them in Guantánamo.’ ”
In a speech last May, Obama declared that the Bush Administration’s legal approach had created “a mess.”
The detainee task force recommended the release of two Guantánamo detainees in America. The recommendation received unanimous support from the principals committee of the National Security Council. Among those who signed off were Holder and the Cabinet secretaries dealing with defense, intelligence, foreign affairs, and homeland security. The two detainees were Chinese Uighurs whom the courts had ordered to be set free, after the Bush Administration had conceded that they were not enemy combatants. But the government had been unable to find any country willing to take them except China, where, as dissidents, they would be jailed.
Lawyers in the Homeland Security and Justice Departments, along with the Uighurs’ attorneys, formed a plan to resettle the men in northern Virginia. But the White House front office saw the release as politically toxic, and stood in its way. In May, word of the secret plan leaked, causing Republicans in Congress to declare their opposition to bringing any detainees to the U.S. Within days, both the House and the Senate had voted to strip a spending bill of eighty million dollars that had been requested for the closing of Guantánamo. Last fall, Congress passed legislation barring the government from bringing any detainee from Guantánamo to America, except to stand trial. Last week, Phil Graham introduced a bill in the Senate to cut off funding for criminal trials related to 9/11.
Letter from Eric Holder: "Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the practice of the U.S. government, followed by prior and current Administrations withou a single exception, has been to arrest and detain under federal criminal law all terrorist suspects who are apprehended inside the United States."
In keeping with this policy, the Bush Administration used the criminal justice system to convict more than 300 individuals on terrorism-related charges. For example, Richard Reid, a British citizen, was arrested in December 2001 for attempting to ignite a shoe bomb while on a flight from Paris to Miami carrying 184 passengers and 14 crewmembers. He was advised of his right to remain silent and to consult with an attorney within five minutes of being removed fromt eh aircraft (and was read or reminded of these rights a total of four times within 48 hours), pled guilty in October 2002, and is now serving a life sentence in federal prison." more
Rachel Maddow and Andrea Mitchell proves Republic Senator Susan Collins uses smear tactics.