Greg Sargent has obtained a detailed chart from the Justice Department detailing the hundreds of terrorism-related convictions in civilian court, going back to the Bush administration when the practice was uncontroversial. The chart includes names, dates, the crimes they were charged with and the charges they were ultimately convicted of/pleaded guilty to.
The names are shifted into two categories: Category I, which includes "violations of federal statutes that are directly related to international terrorism and that are utilized regularly in international terrorism matters," and Category II, which includes "defendants charged with violating a variety of other statutes where the investigation involved an identified link to international terrorism." There are 403 names on the list, dating back to 2001.
The chart offers the strongest empirical rebuttal yet from the Justice Department regarding its continuation of the Bush-era multiple venue policy for dealing with terrorism cases. The problem for the Obama administration though, is the narrative. Having run against Bush-era national-security policies as a candidate, Obama has opted for continuity rather than change by keeping the military commissions. While the strongest counterargument to conservative hysteria on national security is that they're doing the same things Bush did, only better, it would undermine the administration's rhetoric about restoring the rule of law. So they're stuck trying to push two rather contradictory notions at the same time.
-- A. Serwer
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