I want to note the recent New York Times story “Holder decision on Benghazi case reverberates,” addressing the mucked up prosecution of Ahmed Abu Khattala by the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Khattala is the terrorist apprehended in Libya and charged for the murder of Ambassador Stevens and the others who died trying to protect him. The story is full of suggestive and appalling details on the bureaucratic politics underlying the treatment of the case. We should all be interested and I hope readers will cheek out Michael Schmidt’s story.
I wrote a while back on the absurd protocol adopted by Attorney General Holder to govern the prosecution of Guantanamo detainees in American courts. I dug up the “protocol” and posted a link to it in “Trying KSM: Why? An insane protocol.” It’s still insane and it’s still accessible on the Department of Justice website.
Congressional pushback has prevented the protocol from going anywhere, but Obama and Holder may yet get the last laugh. In the meantime, they have essentially implemented the underlying rationale into the protocol for the treatment of captured terrorists (such as Khattala). This week I called the Department of Justice public affairs office and asked for an explanation why Khattala’s prosecution was proceeding in federal district court rather than in a military commission. I thought I knew why, but I wanted to be sure to get it straight. Public affairs officer Marc Raimondi responded by email (and I am grateful to him for the response):
Guantanamo was never on the table for Khatallah. This administration has not added a single person to the Guantanamo population since President Obama took office, and we have had substantial success delivering swift justice to terrorists through our federal court system.
Since 9/11, successive administrations have used the federal court system to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists. And recent history proves that our courts system is capable of dispensing justice even to some of the most hardened terrorists in the highest-profile cases. Some examples you might recall:
- In 2010, Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square Bomber, pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
- In 2012, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “underwear bomber,” was sentenced to life in prison.
- In April 2011, the United States captured Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali national and member of al-Shabaab who had close associations with al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). He pled guilty to a range of charges including material support to al-Shabaab and al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula. We acquired very valuable intelligence from Warsame.
- In October 2013, the United States captured Abu Anas al-Libi and is currently prosecuting him in the Southern District of New York in connection with his alleged role in al-Qa’ida’s conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals and to conduct attacks against U.S. interests worldwide.
- In March 2014, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a former associate of Usama bin Laden who conspired to kill U.S. nationals, was convicted in the Southern District of New York.
What we have here is an ideologically driven category error. As one can infer from the tone of Raimondi’s message, Holder et al. are proud of it. Like the other byproducts of the Obama regime, we will be living with the damage for some time to come.