Interrogating Al-Marri.

Ali Saleh al-Marri was held for nearly eight years by the American government without charge as an "enemy combatant," six of them spent in a military brig in South Carolina. Soon after the Obama administration took office, al-Marri was charged, in part to preempt a Supreme Court fight that likely would have had the effect of setting a precedent that the executive branch can't simply hold a U.S. resident indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism just because they feel like it. Al-Marri was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison including time served after confessing to providing material support to terrorist groups.

The Charleston Post and Courier has an interesting story on al-Marri that's been making the rounds (including surveillance videos of his imprisonment) but I'd point specifically to the kicker.

A day after he took office, President Barack Obama reversed the Bush administration's enemy combatant stance and ordered al-Marri transferred from military custody to the courts. Before al-Marri agreed to plead guilty, al-Marri sat with investigators for hours, Savage said. In this less-threatening setting, al-Marri verified some of the government's accusations against him and steered the government away from errors in its intelligence.

"It was a lesson in building trust and having open communications is beneficial to the United States and al-Marri," he said. "In the interrogations, they got nothing."

Imagine that.

-- A. Serwer

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