Huffington Post piece on prosecuting terrorist suspects in federal courts

David Laufman, an attorney experienced in prosecuting terrorism cases, writes in the Huffington Post today on why Guantanamo detainees should be transferred to U.S. criminal courts.

On why to try them in federal courts:

Prosecutions in the criminal justice system confer greater credibility on
the government’s handling of these cases. Domestically, that credibility helps
to foster political consensus about the legitimacy of the government’s approach
to counterterrorism; overseas, it helps to promote critical cooperation by
foreign intelligence and law enforcement authorities.

And on why Congress’s efforts to derail bringing Gitmo detainees into the U.S.:

These legislative restrictions on the President’s discretion are based on
the belief that terrorists cannot be detained safely on U.S. soil. But that
belief is grossly mistaken. Both before and after the attacks of September
11, 2001, a rogues’ gallery of dangerous terrorists successfully have been
detained for long periods in the United States in localities across the

None of these facilities was ever attacked while a defendant was incarcerated
there on terrorism-related charges, and no such detainee has ever escaped.
Moreover, most of these terrorists are now safely serving their sentences at the
impregnable “Supermax” facility operated by the federal Bureau of Prisons in
Florence, Colorado.

Congress irresponsibly has ignored this history of experience.

Read the whole piece to see how he backs this up with particular cases.


Published on July 9, 2009


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