The House Republican policy shop has the rundown on what happened this week with the case of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani -- Al Qaeda terrorist who participated in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. After being convicted of only 1 of charge of conspiracy, 284 others were acquitted. The following paper discusses the problem with trying terrorists as civilians. One line reads, "Treating terrorist attacks as simple criminal matters rather than acts of war hinders U.S. efforts to fight terrorism..."
Read an excerpt here:
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani: Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a 36-year old native of Tanzania and former Islamic cleric, is an Al Qaeda terrorist who participated in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The bombings killed 224 people (12 Americans) and injured more than 4,000 others. Following the bombings, Ghailani became an icon of Islamist Jihad. He traveled to al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and consorted with fellow terrorists, including some of the 9/11 conspirators. At one point, Ghailani served as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. In October 2001, the FBI listed Ghalaini on its first FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List Ghailani was captured and detained by U.S. and Pakistani forces in 2004 and transferred to Guantanamo Bay in September 2006. The U.S. government then proceeded with the prosecution of Ghailani in a military commission at Guantanamo, with a trial set to begin in late 2009.
Obama Administration Action: The Obama administration, in one of its first acts, halted preparations to try Ghailani before military commission. Instead, The Obama administration made Ghailani its test case to prove that civilian criminal courts are as effective as military commissions for wartime enemy combatants. The decision came despite the fact that military commissions have been used competently throughout American history and were approved by a bipartisan basis in Congress in 2006 and 2009 for trying al Qaeda terrorists. Ghailani faced 285 charges, including numerous counts of murder, before a federal civilian court in the Southern District of New York.