This Tuesday, various members of the Obama Administration, from the Defense and Justice Departments, testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which includes Maine Senator Susan Collins. The Wall Street Journal captured the scope of the debate:
"Jeh Johnson, the Defense Department's chief lawyer, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that releasing a detainee who has been tried and found not guilty was a policy decision that officials would make based on their estimate of whether the prisoner posed a future threat."
The Wall Street Journal goes on to report:
"Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald, giving his independent opinion as the Navy's judge advocate general, testified that the standard should be whether a statement was "reliable," rather than whether it was coerced."
On the other hand, David Kris from the Justice Department suggested that information gathered from coercion may not stand in federal courts. With this much disagreement between, and perhaps within, various departments of the administration, Guantanamo is unlikely to close safely and justly within a year as Obama had planned.
However, the same WSJ article quotes Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who provides a refreshing voice in the dialogue:
"What bothers me is that they seem to be saying, 'Some people we have good enough evidence against, so we'll give them a fair trial. Some people the evidence is not so good, so we'll give them a less fair trial. We'll give them just enough due process to ensure a conviction because we know they're guilty. That's not a fair trial, that's a show trial".
Rep. Nadler is right;
due process cannot retract or expand case by case. This not only endangers the
integrity of each case, but also the integrity of our legal system itself. The
MCLU and ACLU are firmly opposed to indefinite detention. You can share your
views with President Obama and the Maine Congressional Delegation here.