This is just awful.
President Obama’s advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.
The president’s advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.
If Obama accepts the likely recommendation of his advisers, the White House may be able to secure from Congress the funding and legal authority it needs to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and replace it with a facility within the United States. The administration has failed to meet a self-imposed one-year deadline to close Guantanamo.[…]
Marine Col. Jeffrey Colwell, acting chief defense counsel at the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions, said it would be a “sad day for the rule of law” if Obama decides not to proceed with a federal trial. “I thought the decision where to put people on trial — whether federal court or military commissions — was based on what was right, not what is politically advantageous,” Colwell said.
Administration officials said that an announcement could come soon and that they hoped to finalize their plans before Obama leaves for Indonesia on March 18.
Holder announced in a November statement that Mohammed and his co-defendants would be tried in a federal court in Lower Manhattan, hailing it as a “significant step forward in our efforts to close Guantánamo and to bring to justice those individuals who have conspired to attack our nation and our interests abroad.”
New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) initially embraced the decision. But when a grass-roots opposition movement took off and cost estimates for security ballooned, Bloomberg and leading New York Democrats turned against the civilian trial. Others objected on national security grounds, arguing that a Manhattan trial could attract another attack.
So, it seems, Graham/Rahm alliance won out against the rule of law and got Obama and the White House to cave in this disregard for this rule of law. So as noted at Attackerman, Graham is now the bi-partisan gate keeper for all security issues. When I think of this most cynically, all this bi-partisanship is making me feel like we elected Bob Dole. Such is the awful friction against progressive action that is Capitol Hill.