Abu Ghaith Convicted

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Bin Laden’s son-in-law, was convicted this week of conspiring to kill Americans and a series of other terror-related charges.

Abu Ghaith, was indicted nearly a year ago in The Southern District of New York, just a few blocks from the World Trade Center site, for his role in the September 11th attacks and as a senior associate of Bin Laden. Since news of Abu Ghaith’s indictment was first released last March, there has been a great deal of debate regarding whether SDNY was the appropriate forum for the trial. While many believed SDNY could hold a fair, safe trial for such a high-profile case, many opponents believed a military commission was a far more appropriate venue. Continue reading

Targeted Killing of U.S. Citizens at Odds with the Constitution

In a recent post on the blog TomDispatch.com, Peter Van Buren published a piece condemning the United States’ drone policy, particularly in regards to the recent news that the U.S. is considering the targeted killing of a U.S. citizen abroad. In the piece, “Drone Killing the Fifth Amendment: How to Build a Post-Constitutional America One Death at a Time,” Van Buren explores the constitutionality of the U.S.’s drone policy, and argues that “They’ve thought about it [targeted killing]. They’ve set up the legal manipulations necessary to justify it.”

It is no great secret that both the legality and the morality of targeted killing has been a hot topic in recent months, Van Buren argues that the practice is at odds with the values our country is based on, as the targeted killing of a U.S. citizen denies him the due process guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. Essentially, Van Buren’s point is that we are in a post-Constitutional America, and have strayed dramatically from the values of our Founding Fathers.

As someone who tends to agree with the loose constructionist interpretation of the Constitution, I side with Van Buren on this. Broadly, I believe that a document written over 200 years ago was never intended to be followed to the letter. Try as they might, our Founding Fathers had no way of predicting what our country would look like and the problems we would face in 2014. What Van Buren is saying, however, is that we have strayed too far from the values our country was built upon. While one would be hard-pressed to find the phrase “targeted killing” or “drone strikes” anywhere within the four corners of the Constitution, we still need to abide by the guiding principles outlined in the document. We are allegedly a country that values freedom, liberty, and due process. If we kill our own citizens in drone strikes, is that truly constitutional?

Kelly Ann Taddonio
Senior Research Fellow

February 18, 2014

 

DoD Announces Detainee’s Charges After Ten Years of Detention at Guantanamo

Last week, the Department of Defense announced the charges against detainee Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza al Darbi, who will be charged by a military commission for aiding and abetting conduct that resulted in the suicide bombing of the civilian oil tanker M/V LIMBURG near al Mukallah, Yemen, on October 6, 2002. This is the first time that al Darbi, who has been held as a detainee at GTMO for nearly eleven years, has been charged since his arrival at the detention center. According to his charge sheet, al Darbi is accused of attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, hazarding a vessel, terrorism, attempted hazarding a vessel, and attempted terrorism.

Be sure to follow TransparentPolicy for more info on al Darbi’s upcoming trial as it becomes available.

 

Watchdog Report Says NSA Program is Illegal and Should End

In an article released just this morning, The New York Times reports that a government watchdog group has released a review of the NSA surveillance program, stating:

“An independent federal privacy watchdog has concluded that the National Security Agency’s program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only “minimal” benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal and should be shut down. Continue reading

Declassification of KSM Manifesto Provides a Platform for Extremism

As I discussed at length last week, high-value detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (“KSM”) recently drafted a manifesto, which was turned over to GTMO officials in October and declassified earlier this month by Judge Pohl. It is my personal opinion, however, that this “manifesto” should not have been released at all, in any form. Continue reading

Congress Vows To Step Up To Surveillance Policy Challenge

In the wake of President Obama’s highly-anticipated speech yesterday morning, it became clear that Congress will undoubtedly play a major role in the changes the President plans to initiate.

NPR reports,

“If there was a consensus emanating from Congress Friday after President Obama’s NSA reform speech, it was — not surprisingly — that Congress itself has a major role to play in the ultimate fix. Continue reading

Obama’s Policy Directive for NSA Reforms Released

President Obama’s full policy directive for NSA reforms was released just moments ago, and can be found here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics-live/liveblog/live-updates-obamas-nsa-reforms/?id=54d9016f-73a5-4d0d-82ce-3ebd14e8eb36

 

 

KSM Releases Lengthy ‘Nonviolence’ Manifesto, Shows Nothing Has Changed

 

High-value Guantanamo detainee Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (“KSM”) has released a 36-page ‘nonviolence’ manifesto, filled with deeply extremist religious ramblings and advocating that Muslims should avoid using violence to spread Islam. What KSM fails to realize however, is that, while what he likely means is avoiding force, his hate-filled, extremist rant is nonetheless promoting violence, hate, and intolerance.  Continue reading