Last night, President Barack Obama announced to the country that Osama bin Laden, the head of al Qaeda and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was killed after a nine-year man hunt. This successful interagency operation marks the fruits of intelligence-sharing reform; efforts to deepen the U.S. presence in Pakistan; and the commitment of the men and women of our armed forces, and our political leadership, to a goal many had thought would never be achieved. Experts point out that al Qaeda is increasingly marginalized, as the Islamic world turns away from its violence and as opposition activists in the Arab world excite new hopes for change. The threat posed by terrorist organizations will remain with us; and we can best confront it with the unity, resilience and confidence in our institutions that many Americans feel today.
Tonight President BarackObama announced that Osama bin Laden, the architect of the 9-11 attacks, waskilled in Abbottabad, Pakistan. NSN joins all Americans in thanking our men andwomen in uniform and in the intelligence community who have sacrificed over thelast nine years in the effort to bring justice to the man who was behind thedeaths of 3,000 innocents. We also remember and thank the law enforcement andhomeland security professionals who have kept America safe since the 9-11attacks.
The leaked Guantanamo "detainee assessments" are raw and incomplete case files built around a flawed intelligence gathering process reliant on prison informants, gossip and conjecture, made up along the way with few opportunities to correct errors or take outside information into account. They highlight how the Guantanamo system and its partisans again and again have lead U.S. policy to over-simplified judgments that are problematic or just plain wrong, from the challenge posed by a former detainee now training rebels in Libya, to yet more evidence that the recidivism rate for ex-Guantanamo detainees may be less than half the level asserted by the Pentagon.
With less than 48 hours until the government could be forced to shut down, lawmakers once again failed to reach an agreement to fund the government for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Yet despite the devastating impact a government shutdown would have on the economy and our national security apparatus, extreme conservatives are openly encouraging a shutdown. Their refusal to negotiate and find a compromise has bred uncertainty and confusion, which has consequences that extend beyond our shores, impacting our warfighters, diplomats and citizens abroad.
Yesterday's announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four alleged coconspirators behind the 9/11 attacks will be tried by a military commission rather than in a civilian court marks a disappointing reversal that Congress threatens to follow with wider-reaching and more permanent shifts in U.S. detention policy. The administration's decision, and disturbing proposals before Congress that would actually broaden the scope of the detention power, remove law enforcement from its lead role and subject U.S. citizens to Guantanamo-style treatment. Those steps fly in the face of military and expert opinion and decades of legal success convicting terrorists in civilian courts. Overreliance on a military justice system neglects powerful tools and - against military wishes - glorifies terrorists instead of exposing them as cowardly murderers.