Just today, when the indictment was opened, we found out that the son-in-law of Usama Bin Laden has been in custody in NYC for a week. He will be arraigned in court Friday. Many, including myself, are asking why Congress – and the American people – were not told right away.
Apparently Suliaman Abu Ghaith had been hiding in Iran since 2002. At some point he went to Turkey, supposedly with a fake passport. Turkey tried to deport him to Kuwait, the country of his birth. The plane stopped in Jordan, where the US took him into custody.
I am still undecided about using drone strikes to take out terrorists. (Could we kill the wrong person? Is it o.k. to also kill innocent people nearby?) But ignoring that, I have to wonder why “we” didn’t just zap Abu Ghaith as we did several other Al Quida members?
I am also distressed that the Obama administration brought this terrorist to NYC in secret. The President had wanted to hold trials for other terrorist suspects in NYC, but the outcry from Congress, families of 9-11 victims, NYC officials and others halted those plans. Now Mr. Obama has gotten his way by hiding his actions until it is basically too late to make changes.
Bin Laden’s son-in-law must be taken to Guantanamo Bay, where other terrorist detainees are held. In a military court, the evidence and defense are presented, and if guilt is established, punishment is handed down.
Often a defendant in our regular court system is charged with more than one count of the crime (i.e. the number of murder counts equals the number of victims). But Abu Graith is only charged with one count of plotting against the US. (Only one – are we kidding???) With a normal US trial, even if the evidence is overwhelming, any of many small technicalities could easily allow him to walk free. If that happens or somehow he is acquitted, will he just be released to continue his plotting against Western nations?
This terrorist will not be required to answer questions (Fifth Amendment protection in US courts), so the government may not get information that could help protect the US from attacks.
President Obama has not given any logical reasons why this is a necessary or better way to put terrorist suspects on trial.
To ask your Congressional representatives to demand that Abu Ghaith be transferred to Guantanamo, click on my “contact Congress” tab and follow the links.
update 3/8: Abu Ghaith pled not guilty in a NYC court this morning.