GHAILANI REACHES NY, SKY DOESN’T FALL…. This morning’s developments have, so far, gone exactly the way they’re supposed to go.
U.S. authorities have brought the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to the United States, flying him into New York to face trial for bombing U.S. embassies, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
The department said Ahmed Ghailani arrived in the early morning hours Tuesday. U.S. Marshals took custody of Ghailani from his military jailers and brought him to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. Ghailani is scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court later Tuesday.
“With his appearance in federal court today, Ahmed Ghailani is being held accountable for his alleged role in the bombing of U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and the murder of 224 people,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press release. “The Justice Department has a long history of securely detaining and successfully prosecuting terror suspects through the criminal justice system, and we will bring that experience to bear in seeking justice in this case.”
Ghailani, a Tanzanian believed to have been a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, will face 286 separate criminal counts, after having spent three years at Gitmo.
It’s a shame, in a way, that we’ve reached the point at which it’s necessarily for the nation’s Attorney General to remind lawmakers, reporters, and the public that federal corrections officials have a “long history of securely detaining … terror suspects.” Up until fairly recently, such reassurances would have been seen as odd — of course the feds know how to keep suspects locked up. But in this exceedingly strange political environment, Holder understandably finds this worth mentioning.
Marc Ambinder added a key observation: “Notice the date that Ghailani arrived at Guantanamo: 2006 — that’s after the reign of enhanced interrogation techniques had ended … after the torture that extracted (lots of bogus information and some accurate information) from his fellow detainees was put to an end. There was plenty of collateral information about Ghailani’s involvement in the embassy bombings, and so the decision to grant him an Article III trial was probably one of the easier calls the administration had to make.”
As for Republicans (and some Democrats) who’ve been hyperventilating about the prospect of bringing a Gitmo terrorist suspect to U.S. soil, I haven’t seen any demagogic statements on this from the RNC, Fox News, or Republican leaders on the Hill. Then again, the day is young.