Archive for the ‘Gitmo’ Category

For U.S., Pragmatic Pair Chosen to Confront Terrorism Threat

December 2, 2008

Justice, Homeland Security picks have excellent credentials but not much direct experience.

By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 2, 2008; Page A11

In nominating former federal prosecutors to lead the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, President-elect Barack Obama yesterday selected two Democrats with sterling law-and-order credentials but less experience in detecting threats and gathering intelligence in the age of international terrorism.

Eric H. Holder Jr., the candidate to lead the Justice Department, served as the law enforcement agency’s second in command during the waning years of the Clinton administration, overseeing pursuits of violent crime, drug cartels and public corruption offenses. Janet Napolitano, who will run the sprawling Homeland Security bureaucracy, has served since 2003 as governor of Arizona, a border state at the forefront of the nation’s immigration debate.

U.S. Attorney General nominee Eric Holder listens as U.S. President-elect ... 
.S. Attorney General nominee Eric Holder listens as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama announces the nominees to staff his national security team, including Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as his nominee for Secretary of State and Robert Gates to continue as Secretary of Defense during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)

Yet neither nominee boasts much direct experience with the most significant and pressing counterterrorism matters that will cross their desks if they are confirmed by the Senate and take office after the January inauguration.

Among them: how to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and assess the danger of detainees; how to reorient a domestic wiretapping program once branded as unlawful even by some Bush administration insiders; whether to expend scarce resources prosecuting the intelligence officers and lawyers who developed the framework for policies that Democrats have roundly criticized; and how to prioritize and allocate resources toward the top domestic threats.

At a news conference in Chicago yesterday, Holder played down the tension between protecting American citizens and respecting civil liberties, signaling that he would work to achieve bipartisan consensus in Congress for policies to attack national security threats.

Napolitano promised that the new Obama team will coordinate across all levels of government to ensure a “fast, sound, level-headed and effective” response to natural as well as terrorist-inflicted disasters.

President-elect Barack Obama (L) listens as Arizona Governor ... 
President-elect Barack Obama (L) listens as Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, his choice for homeland security chief, speaks at a press conference in Chicago, Illinois. The Department of Homeland Security was born in the US government’s greatest reorganization since World War II after the September 11 attacks of 2001 made the threat of terrorism very real.(AFP/Getty Images/Scott Olson)

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p-dyn/content/article/2008/12/01
/AR2008120102892.html?hpid=topnews

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Obama Expected to Replace Key National Intelligence Team

November 12, 2008

The nation’s top two intelligence officers expect to be replaced by President-elect Barack Obama early in his administration, according to senior intelligence officials.

A number of influential congressional Democrats oppose keeping Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden in their posts because both have publicly supported controversial Bush administration policies on interrogation and telephone surveillance. One Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said there is a “consensus” view on the matter.

From left, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden testified on Capitol Hill in February about the annual threat assessment.

From left, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden testified on Capitol Hill in February about the annual threat assessment. (By Nikki Kahn — The Washington Post)

By Walter Pincus and Karen DeYoung
The Washington Post

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
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/AR2008111103055.html?hpid=topnews

Obama planning US trials for Guantanamo detainees

November 10, 2008

President-elect Obama‘s advisers are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials, a plan that would make good on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison but could require creation of a controversial new system of justice.

During his campaign, Obama described Guantanamo as a “sad chapter in American history” and has said generally that the U.S. legal system is equipped to handle the detainees. But he has offered few details on what he planned to do once the facility is closed.

In this June 4, 2008 file photo, the sun sets over Camp Justice ... 
In this June 4, 2008 file photo, the sun sets over Camp Justice and its adjacent tent city, the legal complex of the U.S. Military Commissions, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, in Cuba.(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

Under plans being put together in Obama’s camp, some detainees would be released and many others would be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts.

By MATT APUZZO and LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writers

A third group of detainees — the ones whose cases are most entangled in highly classified information — might have to go before a new court designed especially to handle sensitive national security cases, according to advisers and Democrats involved in the talks. Advisers participating directly in the planning spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans aren’t final.

The move would be a sharp deviation from the Bush administration, which established military tribunals to prosecute detainees at the Navy base in Cuba and strongly opposes bringing prisoners to the United States. Obama’s Republican challenger, John McCain, had also pledged to close Guantanamo. But McCain opposed criminal trials, saying the Bush administration’s tribunals should continue on U.S. soil.

The plan being developed by Obama’s team has been championed by legal scholars from both political parties. But it is almost certain to face opposition from Republicans who oppose bringing terrorism suspects to the U.S. and from Democrats who oppose creating a new court system with fewer rights for detainees.

Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and Obama legal adviser, said discussions about plans for Guantanamo had been “theoretical” before the election but would quickly become very focused because closing the prison is a top priority. Bringing the detainees to the United States will be controversial, he said, but could be accomplished.

“I think the answer is going to be, they can be as securely guarded on U.S. soil as anywhere else,” Tribe said. “We can’t put people in a dungeon forever without processing whether they deserve to be there.”

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High-level al-Qaida figure is captured

March 14, 2008
By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Authorities have captured a high-level al-Qaida figure who helped Osama bin Laden escape from Afghanistan in 2001, the Pentagon announced Friday.
Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to say when or where Mohammad Rahim was captured — or by whom — announcing only that he was handed over by the CIA to the Pentagon earlier this week and is being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But in a memo obtained by The Associated Press, CIA Director Michael Hayden told agency employees that Rahim was detained last summer, and he suggested Rahim was not captured by American authorities.

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