The Washington Post (and many others) is reporting that Obama advisers will recommend that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow conspirators be tried by military commission for the 9/11 attacks:
The president’s advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.
If Obama accepts the likely recommendation of his advisers, the White House may be able to secure from Congress the funding and legal authority it needs to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and replace it with a facility within the United States. The administration has failed to meet a self-imposed one-year deadline to close Guantanamo.
As Andy McCarthy puts it, “Hold the Champagne on Military Commissions – It’s a Head Fake.” And it is. As early as last summer, there were signs that Senator Lindsey Graham was negotiating with the White House over making changes to the Military Commissions Act and closing the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay. (That is also why the White House no longer hosts conference calls with the families of the victims of terror before significant announcements. More about that in a moment). McCarthy explains:
The real agenda here is to close Gitmo. That’s the ball to keep your eye on. The Post is trying to soften the opposition to shuttering the detention camp by portraying beleaguered, reasonable Obama as making a great compromise that will exasperate the Left. The idea is to strengthen Sen. Lindsey Graham’s hand in seeking reciprocal compromise from our side.
This, however, is a matter of national security, not horse-trading over a highway bill. You don’t agree to do a stupid thing that endangers the country just because your opposition has magnanimously come off its insistence that you do two stupid things that endanger the country.
If a deal to grant military commissions in exchange for closing Gitmo happens, it is a major win for the Obama Left and an enormous loss for public safety.
We were headed inexorably toward military commissions for the 9/11 plotters. We don’t need to cut a bad deal to get it. Congress was not going to approve funding to transport trained terrorists to the U.S., nor to hold civilian trials. As I said, we’ve already got military commissions for some enemy combatants, and if we play this out, we are likely to get them for most if not all of the combatant war crimes trials. And we are likely to get them at Gitmo — the best place to have them, and the place on which the public has expended hundreds of millions of dollars to construct a safe, humane, fastidiously Islamo-friendly prison with state of the art trial facilities. … READ THE REST
Last June was the last time the White House hosted a conference call with family members of the victims of 9/11 and the Cole bombing. During that call, the briefer said Senator Patrick Leahy would propose changes in the Military Commission Act, using the “Warner-McCain-Graham bill of 2006.”
Only, no such bill ever existed. Yet it did reveal that Senator Graham was already secretly negotiating with the White House. The actual bill was one by Senator John Warner, with no co-sponsors, that four Republicans voted in committee to allow to be brought to the Senate floor as a substitute amendment for the Military Commissions Act. When the substitute was put forward, even Warner voted against it (as did Graham) and both McCain and Snowe did not vote.
We have been conned before by this White House so do not believe everything you read in the newspaper. We need to soon hear from Senator Graham the details of what he is proposing.
Update: I neglected to mention Thomson prison is “still on the table” and the wrong place for detainees. Thankfully, Michelle Malkin reminded us, “So, even as they pull back from civilian trials in NYC, Obama is still trying to bring the Gitmolympics home to Illinois.”