• From: Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 15:21:45 -0400

Judy: That's an argument against hasty execution, not one in favour of denial of due process (let alone torture).

Eric: No, it's an argument in favor of removing terrorists from the criminal justice system. Nobody has responded to it yet. The author wrote:

The Federal prison system has a straightforward mission: incarcerate. There are no interrogation requirements needed, it being assumed that all the questioning necessary for the prison sentence was accomplished at or prior to trial. Conversely, the provisions for both incarceration and interrogation exist and are fully functioning at Guantanamo Bay. The unique detention/interrogation capabilities of Joint Task Force – Guantanamo provide the environment for secure detention of terrorists while being able to conduct long term, through interrogation under humane conditions.

The objectives military interrogation are simple: learn as much as possible about America’s sworn enemies, their organization, and possible operations directed against this country. Behind bars at Guantanamo are men who are knowledgeable of al Qaeda organization, recruiting, training, bomb manufacture, financing, money laundering, and operations. The role of an interrogator is to learn information that then is handed off to analysts who assemble complex jig-saw puzzles that transcend linguistic, cultural, national, and ideological zones. The process is painstaking and difficult. Our people are becoming masters at it.

Sometimes a single missing piece, a casual bit of information from a detainee, may be sufficient to bring the entire picture into focus. This is where terrorists held in America may add value. Their secret information could be a long-term, positive addition to vital knowledge in this ongoing war. Convicted terrorists are better held in Gitmo where they may or may not talk than strapped to a gurney waiting lethal injection or simply doing time in prison. In John Lindh’s case, for example, he does not repent his al Qaeda affiliation but has further radicalized himself in a California prison and has become a “role model” for other potential jihadist prisoners. What good it this to the greater need? His secrets will likely never be revealed. Certainly if these thugs receive lengthy prison sentences that time is better served in Guantanamo. It seems the most logical option.

During the 911 Commission proceedings much was made of the artificial “wall” that then Assistant Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and others installed that forbad law enforcement and intelligence communities from conversing. There was a justifiable outcry to tear down this information exchange wall. It is common knowledge in the community that the missions of interrogators – criminal or intelligence – vary. The justice system simply wants to build a solid criminal case against an individual while the military interrogators seek to thwart and overcome an enemy.

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