Friday, January 12, 2007

U.S. Envisions Trials For Terror Detainees

Despite what this article says, the smart money is on the major captured terrorists never coming to trial.

The Bush administration has set up a secret war room in a Virginia suburb where it is assembling evidence to prosecute high-ranking detainees from Al Qaeda including the man accused of being the mastermind of the September 2001 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, government officials said this week.

The effort to sift the classified files of the Pentagon, F.B.I., C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies amounts to the first concrete steps that the government has taken to press ahead with war crimes trials of high-level terror suspects under a plan announced by President Bush in a speech last September. ...

The preparation of cases against the high-value operatives appears to rebut many who doubted that Qaeda suspects like Mr. Mohammed would ever be brought to trial. Critics in Congress and human rights groups had asserted that such trials would not be feasible because they would expose harsh interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The officials who discussed the preparations have been briefed on the effort in detail and represented several agencies. They declined to speak on the record about deliberations in advance of criminal prosecutions involving national security.

The prosecution team for the Qaeda defendants will be a mix of military and civilian prosecutors. Some officials said no decision had been made about who would lead each prosecution, but others said the trial of Mr. Mohammed would probably be undertaken principally by Justice Department lawyers, who would run the prosecution in a military courtroom in Guantanamo.

People thought that the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui turned into a circus. These cases -- with the allegations of torture -- would make his legal proceedings look like a paragon of rectitude.

That's why the cases discussed here will never pass muster before a judge and jury.


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