11:08 AM, Jun 3, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
At the White House press briefing Monday, Jay Carney was not asked directly about his statement from June 2013 that "we would not make any decisions about transfer of any detainees without consulting with Congress and without doing so in accordance with U.S. law," as we reported yesterday. However, the Washington Post reports that Carney rejected criticism about the lack of notice to Congress:
White House press secretary Jay Carney on Mondaydismissed criticism from lawmakers over the administration's Taliban prisoner swap for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, saying the deal "should not have come as a surprise to members of Congress" because the basic outlines had been discussed for years.
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough echoed Carney's assertion:
At a forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Monday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough also defended the move, saying: "We've been consulting with members of Congress about this effort, including the potential transfer of five Gitmo detainees, for years."
However, in the same June 2013 press briefing where Carney made his statement that the White House would consult with Congress before making any detainee transfer decisions, he made clear that the White House considered the return of Sgt. Bergdahl and the release of any detainees to be two separate issues [emphasis added]:
Q So you haven’t ruled it out [the Taliban has offered to release Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five members of the Taliban who are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay]?
MR. CARNEY: I’m simply saying that -- first of all, you have to separate the two issues. We are focused on the return -- the safe and immediate return of Sergeant Bergdahl, and we continue to use the tools at our disposal to help bring that about.
We also expect the Taliban to raise the issue of their detainees in discussions that we have with them if those discussions take place. And at this time we’ve made no decisions about the transfer of detainees. And in accordance with law, we would be consulting with Congress should we make any decisions about that. So we remain committed to the closure of Guantanamo Bay, as you know. But separate from that on these specific issues about individual detainees, that would be a process that is done in accordance with law.
The Obama administration is also claiming that secrecy and lack of time were other considerations in the lack of congressional consultation or even notification. House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers is now saying Congress was last consulted about a possible Bergdahl-detainee swap in 2011, the Hill reports.
11:55 AM, Jun 13, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
At the Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz has a piece about Jose Rodriguez, the former chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Rodriguez warns that the CIA is “out of the business” of interrogating senior al Qaeda terrorists and this will eventually lead to a hole in America’s counterterrorism efforts, if it hasn’t already. Time will tell if Rodriguez is right. The Obama administration is betting that he isn’t, and that by killing select al Qaeda leaders in drone strikes the terrorist threat is fully neutralized. There are significant problems with the Obama administration’s approach, even absent the prickly debate over interrogations.
11:58 AM, Apr 25, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Some in the Obama administration are desperate to jumpstart peace negotiations with the Taliban in advance of NATO’s summit in Chicago next month.
8:58 AM, May 2, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
A lot of parties inside the American government, from President Obama on down, will rightly claim credit for the demise of Osama bin Laden. But one party, in particular, deserves mention because its members have been repeatedly demonized in the press: the Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO).
11:19 AM, Apr 19, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal filed by five Uighur detainees held at Guantanamo. A D.C. District Court granted the Uighur detainees their freedom inside the U.S. A D.C. Circuit Court ruling overturned the District Court’s decision. And so the Uighurs attempted to appeal the Circuit Court’s decision. That is, they continued to seek their freedom inside the U.S.
12:17 PM, Apr 11, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Newsweek’s Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau have published a list of the “12 of the most-hunted insurgent commanders on the front lines” in Afghanistan. The list is made up “of lesser-known lieutenants who include some of the insurgency’s most important and aggressive operatives.” But one of the “dirty dozen” is former Guantanamo detainee Maulvi Abdul Rauf Khadim.
9:00 AM, Apr 11, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Late last month I asked, who will interrogate top al Qaeda terrorist Umar Patek? Patek, who was captured in Pakistan, is wanted for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings, among other attacks and plots. He is easily one of the most important international terrorists captured in the past few years. Indeed, Marc Thiessen argued that Patek is the “biggest terrorist catch of the Obama era.”
9:20 AM, Mar 31, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
An American intelligence official based in South Asia recently told me, “It has been a long time since we captured a senior al Qaeda leader.” His point was transparent: Without detaining and interrogating terrorists who know what is going on inside the clandestine al Qaeda network, American officials are blind to much of the terrorists’ designs. It is an important point that Marc Thiessen has correctly and repeatedly made.
3:14 PM, Mar 1, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
In an editorial published yesterday (“A Right Without a Remedy”), the New York Times complained that the D.C. Circuit Court “has dramatically restricted” the Supreme Court’s Boumediene ruling, which granted Guantanamo detainees the right to petition federal courts for their habeas corpus rights. The Times has long championed the idea that U.S. courts should determine whether Guantanamo detainees are properly held. But the Old Gray Lady is upset because the D.C. Circuit Court and Judge Raymond Randolph have overturned rulings issued by D.C. District Court judges.
10:31 AM, Feb 16, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Berkeley city council was considering inviting over "one or two" Gitmo detainees for a stay. But, last night, the city council seems to have at least in part come to its senses: By a vote of 4-1, and with 4 members not voting, the city council decided not to bring the detainees to Cindy Sheehan's home city.
11:00 AM, Feb 14, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Debra Saunders, on how some in Berkeley, California want to bring Gitmo detainees to their city:
On Feb. 15, on the recommendation of its Peace & Justice Commission, the Berkeley (Calif.) City Council is set to vote on a resolution to invite "one or two cleared" Guantanamo Bay detainees to resettle in Berkeley.
The New York Times neglects to explain who Binyam Mohamed really is.7:12 AM, Sep 9, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The New York Times reports that a federal appeals court has shot down a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a Boeing subsidiary that reportedly arranged flights for t
Omar Khadr's military commission is shown an incriminating video.12:09 PM, Aug 13, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Omar Khadr’s trial before a military commission at Guantanamo has reportedly been delayed once again. This time, Khadr’s attorney has suffered some illness and the trial has been put on hold for thirty days, according to Agence France-Presse.