I don't say this very often but Debra Burlingame's Wall St. Journal piece on the Richard Reid and the Supermax is an absolute must-read speaking to the issue of detention. The jihad wages on no matter what Americans are discussing at any given moment, as evidenced by the busting of two recent homegrown cells. Here's an excerpt:
Reid’s own SAMs on correspondence had been tightened in 2006 after the shocking discovery that three of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers at ADX, not subject to security directives, had sent 90 letters to overseas terrorist networks, including those associated with the Madrid train bombing. The letters, exhorting jihad and praising Osama bin Laden as “my hero of this generation,” were printed in Arabic newspapers and brandished like trophies to recruit new members.Meanwhile Attorney General Eric Holder was providing a shocking dose of reality to ABC News:
He noted, however, that the Bush administration "left us an infrastructure that I think is very good," and that national security officials are constantly striving to put the country in a safer position.It's refreshing and shocking to hear anything good coming from the Obama administration about their predecessors but it's hard to argue with Bush's decisions on battling terrorists. His pragmatic approach temporarily ignored the civil libertarians and civil rights crowd long enough for the government to get a handle on the problem and it worked. Now, as the threat has apparently subsided, the civil liberatarians and rights advocates are bobbing to the surface and demanding retribution and demanding Holder do something. But he knows things.
"The American people would be surprised by the depth of the threat, but also reassured to see the assets that have been deployed around the world," Holder said, adding that the United States interacts closely with its foreign partners.
Ms. Burlingame's piece makes clear the importance of Gitmo versus domestic lockup after 9/11 (and I'd add the secret prisons as well) with examples of indicents involving terrorists given the right to communicate with their mates from jail (this mystery didn't get very much sunshine). Placed in context with Holder's mention of the 'depth of threats' it certainly merits consideration.
The Holder piece also delves into possible indefinite detentions despite his assertion that a closed Gitmo being safe for the American people:
"The possibility exists that there could be people who are held in a preventative way under the laws of war," he said. "If that happens, we'd only do so by creating a system that had due process.Or put another way, the possibility exists that bashing Bush and closing Gitmo on day two was the mother of all political stunts, from the guy who promised to change politics as usual, and there's no way in hell they're letting KSM walk into a federal courtroom. After all, Holder now has a complete picture of the intelligence dating back to when he worked at Justice for Clinton and Janet Reno. He was there when KSM and bin Laden were plotting 9/11 under their noses. We can only hope it was a teachable moment.