Tuesday, June 9, 2009
First Gitmo Prisoner On U.S. Soil
I'm thinking of walking over to Foley Square this afternoon before News Talk Online on Paltalk.com to check out the security there.
That's because the first Guantanamo Bay detention facility prisoner to be tried in the United States will be making his initial court appearance before a federal magistrate here in New York this afternoon.
His name is Ahmed Ghailani and he's charged in connection with the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya which claimed the lives of 224 people.
This will be a closely watched landmark case. It will test the Obama administration's new policy of trying terrorists in United States criminal courts.
It means, in addition to the obvious inherent security concerns, there will be an attempt by the government to make its case while not revealing techniques it uses in combating terrorism. Too much information made public can result in a diluting of investigative techniques. It can also potentially put agents and operatives in harm's way.
Presumably when this does go to trial the judge will be aware of and sympathetic to these concerns.
The other issue that's been prominently debated of late is, what happens if Ghailani is acquitted? Would he be deported to Tanzania where the former Osama bin Laden bodyguard might return to the al Qaeda fold? Or would he be released to the streets of Manhattan? To tell you the truth, as one who works in Manhattan, the thought of bumping into Ghailani isn't particularly pleasing.
But if he's successfully prosecuted, the administration can tout its plan to close Gitmo in seven months and try some of the detainees here in the United States.