GITMO ON THE TABLE….It looks like Defense Secretary Robert Gates is just full off ideas lately. In addition to his proposal on scaling down the surge policy, Gates is also weighing ideas on how to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Essentially, the administration would propose legislation that would result in dividing the estimated 375 Guantanamo detainees into three legal categories. The one that would call for legislative action would include detainees like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 2001 attacks, and others whose trials would risk exposing intelligence operations. This group, estimated at two dozen to 50, would be placed indefinitely in military brigs on American soil.

A second group would also be moved to the United States, most likely to face trial in military courts, but perhaps with more legal guarantees than in the current military tribunal system.

The third, and largest, group would consist of detainees to be released to their home countries.

The good news is Gates’ approach would more or less mark the end of the administration’s policy on denying enemy combatants due process.

Spencer Ackerman details the bad news.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.