As Katie reported on Friday, the Obama administration has chosen to prosecute Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law in a Manhattan civilian courtroom, rather than a military tribunal in a secure location. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, an Al Qaeda spokesman, was captured in Jordan last week. The White House sprung its decision on the legal and political community unexpectedly, and Republicans are scrambling to denounce the reckless, political plan:
The Obama administration’s decision to try former al Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a relative of Osama bin Laden, in a New York federal court has sparked an uproar that it could compromise classified intelligence. Republicans say he should be held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and tried by a military tribunal, not a federal civilian court. They say the administration is putting New York at risk of terrorist attack by holding the trial there and warn security costs will run in the millions of dollars….[Rep. Trey] Gowdy (R-SC) said a military tribunal would offer distinct advantages over a civilian jury trial, namely that military courts are made up of military officers and don’t require unanimous jury verdicts for conviction. But Gowdy said his bigger concern is the difference in the discovery process between military and civilian courts. In a federal court, Abu Ghaith could gain insights into the sources of methods of classified operations by demanding a thorough accounting of the evidence in discovery, Gowdy said.