A Guantanamo Detainee Transferred To New York For Trial

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In an early-morning news release, the Justice Department announced that Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Guantanamo Bay detainee since 2006, had been transferred to the custody of corrections officials in New York City and will stand trial for the 1998 embassy bombing in Tanzania. He's the first Guantanamo Bay inmate to be granted a federal court trial by the administration after a review of the Guantanamo Bay Detainee Task Review.

Ghailani appears in court this morning to face 286 separate counts stemming from his March 2001 indictment for terrorism and murder. Eric Holder, the attorney general, said in a statement that the "Justice Department has a long history of securely detaining and successfully prosecuting terror suspects through the criminal justice system, and we will bring that experience to bear in seeking justice in this case."  An accompanying fact sheet asserts that there are 216 people with ties to the "nexus" of international terrorism in federal custody.

Notice the date that Ghailani arrived at Guantanamo: 2006 -- that's after the reign of enhanced interrogation techniques had ended...after the torture that extracted (lots of bogus information and some accurate information) from his fellow detainees was put to an end. There was plenty of collateral information about Ghailani's involvement in the embassy bombings, and so the decision to grant him an Article III trial was probably one of the easier calls the administration had to make.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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