The White House laid out its legal strategy Monday to indefinitely detain Guantanamo Bay prisoners who can't be tried but are too dangerous to be freed.
President Barack Obama issued an executive order to conduct periodic reviews of the cases of nearly 50 detainees who will be held under "the law of war" at the base in Cuba.
* * *The news came in tandem with an administration announcement of plans to conduct new military tribunals at Guantanamo. Defense Secretary Robert Gates rescinded a 2009 order that had frozen the filing of new charges against detainees imprisoned at the U.S. Naval base there.
Among the likely new trials expected is that of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the accused plotter of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, U.S. officials said.
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In Monday's announcements, the administration remained silent on the most prominent prisoners at Guantanamo, those accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
In November 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder announced civilian criminal trials in New York City for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other alleged 9/11 plotters.
So, we have a step in the right direction, but KSM needs to be brought to trial. The trial should be by military commission, but if it is to be a civilian trial, Congress must first repeal the single-juror-veto rule for the federal death penalty. A life sentence imposed by a single juror over the objection of the other 11 was bad enough in Moussaoui's case, but it would be intolerable for KSM.
Anything less than death for KSM is failure, and failure, Mr. Holder assures us, is not an option.