Senator Reid’s Gitmo truth: ‘You can’t put them in prison unless you release them’ (see updates)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) finally told the truth about President Barack Obama’s plan to bring Guantanamo detainees into the United States. The New York Times (and others) has Senator Reid on the record:

Mr. Reid in his comments, however, was unequivocal in insisting that the terror suspects never reach American shores.

“You can’t put them in prison unless you release them,” he said. “We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States.”

Setting aside the 17 Uighurs at Gitmo, think about what Senator Reid just said.

Attorney General Holder has stated many of the 240 remaining Gitmo detainees are too dangerous to release yet cannot be prosecuted. Some number of those who are prosecuted will likely receive less than a life sentence. If they are here, federal judges will someday order them released and no other nation will take the worst of the worst; they would be released free someday onto America’s streets.

Now remember the 17 Uighurs at Gitmo. They have admitted to being trained and committed terrorists. Incredibly, a military review board said they are no threat to America when they are all associates of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement. The ETIM has a long relationship with al Qaeda and its founder swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden. On April 9, 2009, the Obama administration added the ETIM’s current leader, Abdul Haq, to the Treasury Department’s terrorist list. As they pose a direct threat to Chinese businessmen and diplomats here, who wants to risk becoming collateral damage?

A federal judge ordered them released here last October:

The ruling set the stage for a confrontation between the courts and the [Bush] administration. John C. O’Quinn, a deputy assistant attorney general, suggested that immigration or Department of Homeland Security officials might detain the men when they were taken to the Washington area. Mr. O’Quinn argued that only the executive branch of the government, not the courts, could decide about immigration. Mr. O’Quinn said such detainees would have no legal status in the United States. “Normally,” he added, “the law would potentially require them to be taken into some sort of protective custody.”

Judge Urbina said such arrests would not be appropriate. But he did not specify what he might do if the men were seized after being released by the Pentagon. “I do not expect these Uighurs will be molested by any member of the United States government,” Judge Urbina said sharply. “I’m a federal judge, and I’ve issued an order.”

Fortunately, the House and Senate will deny, for the moment, President Obama the funding needed to close the detention facilities at Guantanamo. Even Senator Reid knows that it would be reckless to bring terrorists into America.

Update, 9:00 am EDT: U.S. officials meeting with Uighur detainees in Guantanamo

Carol Rosenberg – Miami Herald: GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — In a prison camps first, the Obama administration Tuesday dispatched members of a detainee review team here to speak directly with 17 captives from China who were swept up in the war on terror and ultimately cleared of being enemies of America. The six-member delegation included lawyers from the Justice, State and Homeland Security departments, according to U.S. military sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because only the Justice Department was allowed to officially disclose the mission. They were to spend a minimum of one hour with each of the Uighur captives (pronounced WEE-gurs), who are part of China’s Muslim minority and who risk religious persecution were they returned to their homeland.

Update II, 10:50 am EDT: After White House rejects first panel recommendation, SURPRISE! (panel says “take two.”)

On April 20, 2009, Jed Babbin of Human Events reported:

Reviewing the Uighurs detention, the inter-agency panel found that they weren’t the ignorant, innocent goatherds the White House believed them to be. The committee determined they were too dangerous to release because they were members of the ETIM terrorist group, the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement,” and because their presence at the al-Queda training camp was no accident. There is now no ETIM terrorist cell in the United States: there will be one if these Uighurs are released into the United States.

According to Defense Department sources, the White House legal office has told the inter-agency review group to re-do their findings to come up with the opposite answer.

This morning the Financial Times is reporting:

Two government officials told the FT that the task force had advocated releasing two of the 17 Uighurs — Muslims from Xinjiang province — held at Guantánamo as part of the effort to fulfil the president’s pledge to close the US detention facility on Cuba within a year. The White House was now wavering from its original intention to implement the recommendation under pressure from Congress. One official said the administration had originally overruled the homeland security department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, who had “screamed bloody murder” Dean Boyd, a justice department spokesman, said: “We have no announcements on whether any final decision has been made with respect to the disposition of the Uighurs or other detainees at Guantánamo, or on the claim of interagency ­disagreements.”

“Screamed bloody murder?” You’d think the DHS and FBI were trying to prevent another 9/11 or something. That 6-person review team must be down at Gitmo trying to figure out which two will be the lucky terrorists to set loose on America.

Update III, 12:30 pm EDT: Michelle Malkin reports that the Senate crushed the funding to close Gitmo, 90 to 6, and a federal judge ruled indefinite detentions can continue. It will be interesting to see which six Senators voted to bring terrorists into America.

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