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.
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."
-- A. Serwer