The Corner

Detainees Cleared for Landing … and You Get to Pay for It!

Attorney General Eric Holder, aka “the right man at the right time to protect our citizens in the critical years ahead,” is in Germany discussing what he doesn’t seem to want to talk about much in the United States: the Obama administration’s emerging plan to comply with the President’s arbitrary January 2010 deadline for closing Guantanamo Bay by throwing open the door and releasing trained jihadists into the United States (among other places).  Fox News is reporting that, in addition to the Uighurs, another 13 combatants have now been “cleared” for release — bringing the total to 30.  And when many, if not the vast majority, of the people who trained to kill you end up here, you’ll get to pay for it!  Fox elaborates:

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has indicated that detainees released in the U.S. would likely receive government assistance to help them return to society — one they’ve never been a part of.  “If we are to release them in the United States, we need some sort of assistance for them to start a new life,” Blair said last month. “You can’t just put them on the street.”

So to complete the picture, we now have an FBI out beating the bushes — and taking lots of flak for it — to try to find out which radical Muslims in the United States may be embedded jihadists who’ve gotten paramilitary training from al Qaeda, and we’ve got an Attorney General and a President who are simultaneously planning to embed in the United States jihadists who’ve gotten paramilitary training from al Qaeda.

Meantime, Republicans are squawking, understandably, over the administration’s reckless determination to close Gitmo without a plan for what to do about the 240 enemy combatants still held there.  I would suggest they focus their energy on the following:

1.  What are the standards used by the administration to “clear” an enemy combatant for release?

2.  What are the names of the 30 who have been cleared so far, and what was the basis for holding them as enemy combatants in the first place (e.g., the evidence that came out of their combatant status review tribunals)?

3.  Why did the administration release Binyam Mohammed, who plotted with top-tier al Qaeda figures (like KSM) and convicted terrorist Jose Padilla to carry out mass-murder attacks in American cities — particularly under circumstances where he is living free and clear (and on public assistance) in Britain?

4.  How did Binyam Mohammed meet the standards for releasing terrorists? 

5.  When Binyam Mohammed was incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, he was not a threat to the American people.  What assurance do we have that he is not plotting against Americans today?

6.  If an al Qaeda operative who planned to commit bombings in the United States with top al Qaeda chiefs has met the Obama administration’s release standards, is there any detainee who wouldn’t?

7.  The administration claims it is committed to restoring the “rule of law” that the Bush administration purportedly flouted.  The law of the United States provides that aliens are excludable from the United States if they have been affiliated with terrorist organizations or have received terrorist training.  How is admitting trained alien terrorists into the United States consistent with the rule of law?

8.  Many detainees released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the jihad.  Indeed, that includes the current commander of Taliban operations against American troops in Afghanistan, where President Obama has increased our troop commitment.  Recognizing that we only know someone has returned to the jihad if we get reliable intelligence about that or encounter him on the battlefield — and therefore that the figure of detainees who’ve returned to the jihad is undoubtedly higher than what is known — what is the latest information on the number of detainees released from Guantanamo Bay who have returned to hostilities against the U.S.?

9.  Are the combatants who have been cleared for release represented by American law firms?  If yes, which law firms?  Attorney General Holder’s former law firm, for example, brags on its website:

The firm represents 17 Yemeni nationals and one Pakistani citizen held at Guantánamo Bay.  The Supreme Court will soon review the D.C. Circuit’s ruling that ordered the dismissal of a number of habeas petitions filed by Guantánamo detainees; some of our clients are petitioners in the Supreme Court case.  We expect to play a substantial role in the briefing.  We also plan to petition the Supreme Court to hear our Pakistani client’s appeal from the D.C. Circuit’s order dismissing his case.  Further, we are pursuing relief in the D.C. Circuit under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 for all of our clients.  On a separate front, we filed amicus briefs and coordinated the amicus effort in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in which the Supreme Court in the summer of 2006 invalidated President Bush’s military commissions and in which we have obtained favorable rulings that our clients have rights under the Fifth Amendment and the Geneva Conventions.

Other Justice Department officials also represented – and their law firms represented – enemy combatants detained at Guantanamo Bay in their numerous law suits against the American people.  Have any of the detainees cleared for release been represented by Justice Department officials or the former law firms of Justice Department officials?  If yes, which ones?

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