You Read it Here First
The good news this morning comes from the New York Times where Kate Zernike reports that key Senate leaders and the White House are moving ever closer to a compromise that would break the impasse over the rules governing military tribunals for terror detainees. And, guess what? The compromise is precisely the one I both predicted and urged months ago here on this very blog. I am very gratified that our nation's leaders took my advice and hope I can help out the nation further in the future. (Just kidding about that last sentence-- please don't send nasty comments).
Seriously, it is indeed very encouraging, if Zernike's report is true, that the White House and the Senate may have solved the problem of what to do about showing classified evidence to the detainees without sacrificing national security. Key Senators (and the courts and many military lawyers) believe that the detainees cannot get fair trials unless they see the evidence against them. The White House has argued that terrorists should not be allowed to see the means by which the government obtained the evidence as well as the evidence itself. The compromise?
"The compromise on classified evidence," Zernike wrote, "would have a judge review the evidence and give a summary to be presented to the jury and the accused. Anything less, the senators have said, would constitute a secret trial." That's precisely the sort of compromise that work, to the apparent satisfaction of the courts, in the recently-completed terror conspiracy trial of Zacarias Moussaoui. In that case, which was before a federal civilian court in Virginia (and thus not shielded from public view like the military tribunals will be), the statements made by men like Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and Ramzi Binalshibh were summarized by the government, vetted by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, revised a bit here and there, and then used. Now, in the trials of Mohammed and Binalshibh, those same procedures may be used. Makes sense to me. And it'll make tribunals a reality more quickly by passing legal muster. Let's hope they don't blow it now.
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