Detainee Case Hurts Civilian Trials

Ahmed Ghailani is going to serve between 20 years and life in prison for his role in the bombing of two U.S. embassies in 1998, but for Republicans his acquittal on all but one of over 280 terrorism-related charges is too close a call, and evidence that civilian courts can’t handle terror suspects. For some Democrats, the trial of the first Guantanamo detainee is evidence that civilian courts can handle terror cases even though it’s difficult to prosecute someone after “enhanced” interrogation techniques have rendered evidence inadmissible. Rep. Jane Harman, Democrat of California, is urging Obama to push back against the opponents of civilian terror trials. She said, "There have been 218 convictions or guilty pleas in civilian courts since 9/11—an 89 percent conviction rate—compared to only five in military tribunals. Two of those convicted by tribunal have already been set free." The Republican National Committee said, "While passengers face invasive pat-downs at airports, Attorney General Eric Holder fights to protect the rights of confessed terrorists.”