From the Washington Post:
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. …
Privately, administration officials are bracing for the ire of disappointed liberals and even some government lawyers should the administration back away from promises to use civilian courts to adjudicate the cases of some of the 188 detainees who remain at 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.
It isn’t all the president’s fault. The Democrats have assumed their usual fetal position on national security at a time when the president polls high on the issue, Pakistan is hemming up high-level members of the Taliban and the front pages are filled with news of high level terrorist leaders being vaporized by drone strikes. The last administration presided over the worst terror attack on American soil, led the country into an unnecessary war, and disgraced the country with torture. Still the Democrats cower in fear. If they won’t stand up for the rule of law now, when the facts are on their side, imagine how they’d react if, G-d forbid, there were to be another terrorist attack. If the GOP wanted to dust off the Sedition Act, Democrats would politely ask whether they were in the mood for the 1798 version or the 1918 version.
Obama said that the choice between our security and our ideals is a false choice. He was right. The real choice was always between our ideals and our politics, and if the above story is true, then Obama will have made the obvious, if profoundly disappointing, choice.