Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff over at Newsweek report that the government plans to bring 25 Gitmo detainees to the U.S. for trial under the new law that just passed, including, potentially, alleged 9/11 plotters Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi bin Al Shibh.
A public announcement of the decision is expected to come by Nov. 16—the task force’s self imposed deadline—but could come earlier. When it does, it is sure to ignite a loud public debate: in just the past few days, conservatives—including former Bush attorney general Michael Mukasey—have stepped up their warnings that such trials could compromise national security, expose sensitive intelligence methods in open court, and cause logistical nightmares.
The new military commissions have higher due-process standards than the ones used during the Bush administration, but they give the executive branch more leeway to decide what can be kept secret. Aside from Mukasey, Daphne Eviatar reported last week that Lindsey Graham and John McCain are also fiercely opposing the trial of the alleged 9/11 plotters in civilian courts.
I'm skeptical that the Classified Information Procedures Act, the statute governing the disclosure of classified information in federal court, is inadequate to prevent whatever national security information might be disclosed in any of these trials. But remember, if you look at the more declassified version of the 2006 CIA Inspector General's report that was recently released, there are 24 straight pages of redacted information describing what was done to KSM. If you're wondering what Mukasey and the others are worried about a civilian trial disclosing, it's a good bet that some of it is probably in there.
-- A. Serwer