The Obama administration comes up with a way to avoid a fight with Congress over the Uighurs detained at Guantanamo – send them to Palau. Or to Bermuda. The Telegraph reports that the UK was not consulted. Thomas Joscelyn sees a resultant fracture developing in the US-UK relationship. Scott Horton sees friction between the allies resulting from the UK Law Lords’ declaration that detainees are entitled to view all the evidence against them. And Slate reports on what happens to detainees that are shipped to other countries.
The Obama administration also transferred three detainees to Saudi Arabia. The Weekly Standard’s Thomas Joscelyn critically notes that one of them is a convicted murderer (in Bosnia).
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Lieberman calls Guantanamo a “humane” facility and urges the President to keep it open. A Guantanamo detainee allegedly commits suicide. but the AP is skeptical of the government’s story. Christopher Hitchens calls Guantanamo a “state-sponsored madrasah,” where the guards are humane but the worst detainees force the others to live the lifestyle of a radical Muslim.
Reports claim that the White House has abandoned plans to transfer detainees into the United States. Contrarily, Rep. John Boehner claims that the “first step in the Democrats’ plan to import terrorists into America” has been put in motion. His evidence: “[A] Tanzanian national held at Guantanamo since September 2006, arrived at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, which has housed several suspected terrorists during their prosecutions in the federal court for the Southern District of New York.” In Iraq, a detainee suspected of killing 5 Americans is released as part of a peace deal. And White House press spokesman Robert Gibbs refuses to speculate on whether detainees found not guilty by federal courts would be released.
A Senate Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on the implications of long-term detention. Dan Froomkin and Glenn Greenwald are both optimistic that the Obama administration will be forced to more clearly state whether it supports the Bush administration’s policies or not.
Senators Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman proposed an amendment to the latest war spending bill to exclude photos of detainee abuse from being accessible under the Freedom of Information act. Greg Sargent reports that Nancy Pelosi and other House liberals and libertarians will not allow the amendment into the final bill. Michael Goldfarb reports that, in the interim, President Obama may use an executive order to prevent the release of the photographs in the event of an unfavorable court ruling. Slate helpfully explains what happens when the CIA tells a judge that documents cannot be released.
Judge Jeffrey White refuses to dismiss Jose Padilla’s suit against John Yoo. Separately, UK cops allegedly waterboard drug suspects. The New York Times reports that all Bush DOJ officials involved in a 2005 debate about waterboarding agreed that it was legal. Debate erupts about the role of James Comey, with Scott Horton and Glenn Greenwald accusing the Times of reporting only selected e-mails.
President Obama appoints a special master, or “compensation czar,” to oversee compensation for executives at companies receiving federal assistance. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner rushes to clarify the guidelines for the new office . Meanwhile, the “transparency czar” struggles to provide transparency to the federal assistance programs and urges that “stress tests” be rerun. And Rep. Darrell Issa goes originalist on the Treasury Secretary, arguing that the modern office of the Treasury Secretary goes far beyond Alexander Hamilton’s worst nightmares. (more…)