Advancing a Free Society

“Weeks, Not Months”

Friday, February 4, 2011

That is Attorney General Eric Holder, on March 15, 2010, explaining to the House Judiciary Committee  how long it would take the Obama administration to decide where to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.  Nearly eleven months later, still no word.  A civilian trial is infeasible for the foreseeable future because Congress will not allow it.  That leaves a military commission or military detention as options.  The administration has suggested that it will revive military commissions.  So perhaps that is where KSM will go.  But such an announcement would be a bitter and embarrassing backdown for the Obama administration, for that is precisely where KSM was at the end of the Bush administration, begging to plead guilty.  I suspect this is one big reason why the Obama administration is holding off on making that decision.  Another is that military commissions are full of legal uncertainties.  Meanwhile, KSM is being held in military detention where, except for his brief appearance in a military commission under Bush, he has languished since he was captured almost eight years ago, in the Spring of 2003.

Continue reading Jack Goldsmith at Lawfare