Not Just Torture: The High Value Detainees And Evidence

A smart observer outside of government makes the following the point about the forthcoming trials of the 14 so-called "high value detainees" being held at Guantanamo Bay by the U.S. government.  Some of those detainees were tortured -- put through what Attorney General Eric Holder calls "enhanced interrogation techniques."  Judges won't accept tampered evidence against a suspect, and torture is tantamount to tampering in the extreme.  But -- for most of the detainees, the government has mountains of evidence against each of them which were not the fruit of, say, repeated waterboarding session.  Even if judges throw away all the evidence obtained under torture, the government is confident that most (if not all) of the majorly bad detainees can be convicted. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for eample, could easily be tried on his connection to the U.S.S. Cole bombing if the 9/11 evidence is deemed inadmissable.  Point two: some of the HVTs won't be tried in civillian courts. They'll be tried in whatever new tribunal systems the government comes up with. The standards of evidence may be different, and military judges may be more (or less) inclined to accept outside evidence not obtained under torture.

Reporters with better sources than I might want to see if they can figure out (a) the number of detainees the DOJ believes were tortured and b) of those who were tortured, those for whom the government has little other evidence. I suspect that there are very few HVTs who fit into both categories. Of course, if the government's not confident it can try these folks, what will become of them?  I'm not sure the Obama administration knows at this point.