Saturday, June 28, 2014

Khattala Rendition Complete

Abu Khattala's rendition back to America is now complete. Yes, he was rendered, although the press is timid about calling it such.  No, he was not 'extraordinarily' rendered as during the Bush 43 years, which made a lot of headlines, it was more similar to the renditions that occurred during the Clinton years.

Obama told everyone he would do this in 2009 so it's not any kind of 'gotcha', although Eric Holder did change the rules of how long a suspect could be held on a black site, such as a Navy ship for interrogation (presumably based on the Army Field Manual only) back in 2010. 

All of that aside it's good news they have this guy in custody.  He will be seeing a judge shortly.   Hopefully he gave up some goods while en-route back here such as the location of 'core' AQ operative and former GITMO prisoner bin Qumu so we can go after the network. They probably cross-checked his info with whatever Anas al-Liby told them during his rendition, although with only a few weeks of interrogation it's hard to believe they got very much.

The stand-out thing about this operation was bringing him back to Washington, DC on the USS New York:
The New York left the Mediterranean about a week ago and will eventually return to its home port near Jacksonville, Fla. It had been sent to the Mediterranean expressly to be part of the mission to capture Mr. Abu Khattala.
The ship typically carries four Osprey aircraft and two helicopters, one of which was used for the transfer on Saturday. Its bow was forged with steel from the World Trade Center towers.
As the WaPo alludes, it's unusual to bring a terrorism suspect directly into the Capitol so this was obviously a statement, along with using the New York.  The question is whether the statement was aimed more at our overseas terrorist enemies or the domestic enemies the administration has called terrorists. It really shouldn't be a toss up question.

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