Intelligence: The Lawfare Threat


March 13, 2007: While lawfare in United States courts, to set Islamic terrorists free, has been cutoff due to the Military Commissions Act, the lawfare threat has not ended. Now, the threat comes from ostensible allies in Western Europe, like Italy and Germany, and this may be tougher to deal with. Already, one lawsuit, targeting then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former CIA Director George Tenet, is aimed at getting the German government to investigate alleged war crimes that have, to date, been shown to have little basis in reality.

Many of these claims have centered around Guantanamo Bay, where the United States has been keeping a number of dangerous terrorists on ice. However, a new trend has emerged. Germany is charging 13 CIA operatives in connection with the capture of one suspected terrorist. Italy has charged 26 with the capture of another suspected terrorist. Again, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in involved with these efforts.

In essence, the CCR is trying to protect terrorists from the United States military. For an example of who they are protecting, one of their clients, Mohammed al Khatani, is worth a closer look. Khatani is believed to have been slated to be the 20th hijacker on 9/11. Information he gave up provided leads that enabled the break-up of terrorist cells before they could carry out attacks.

Khatani's interrogation diary was leaked to Time Magazine in 2005. The methods used during the detainee's interrogations were portrayed as routine. They were not - the techniques had been authorized as part of a special protocol. Naturally, human rights groups have been complaining about this, and their concerns are amplified by sympathetic news reports. Having lost in the legislative arena, they now have turned to foreign courts.

Another detainee of note was an Iraqi who was captured in Pakistan in 2002. This was an a-Qaeda operative, who, according to an evidence summary released after a Freedom of Information Act request, was supposed to work with an Iraqi intelligence officer in carrying out a chemical mortar attack on the U.S. and British embassies in Pakistan in August 1998. These are the kind of people who the Center for Constitutional Rights has chosen to defend. They also ignore the necessity of protecting methods of gathering intelligence and sources of information.

As for the guards at Guantanamo Bay, who suffered over 400 assaults in 2006, they are out of luck. The same goes for any civilians who might be killed or maimed in a terrorist attack should these terrorists be released. In the eyes of human rights groups, the terrorists are apparently worth protecting, while those trying to stop their attacks, which kill and maim innocent civilians, are war criminals. While the mainstream media seems content to parrot human rights groups, nobody seems to be willing to speak up for those who would be harmed by the terrorists if they got the chance. - Harold C. Hutchison (


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