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President may opt to hold detainees


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WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is weighing plans to detain some terror suspects on U.S. soil -- indefinitely and without trial -- as part of a plan to retool military commission trials that were conducted for prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


The proposal being floated with members of Congress is another indication of President Barack Obama's struggles to establish his counter-terrorism policies, balancing security concerns against attempts to alter Bush-administration practices he has harshly criticized.




WSJ's Justice Department reporter Evan Perez discusses the Obama administration's efforts to create a detainee policy in line with both national security concerns and the critiques Obama raised during his campaign.



On Wednesday, the president reversed a recent administration decision to release photos showing purported abuse of prisoners at U.S. military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Obama cited concern that releasing the pictures could endanger U.S. troops. Mr. Obama ordered government lawyers to pull back an earlier court filing promising to release hundreds of photos by month's end as part a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.


The decision to block the detainee photos contrasts with the administration's release last month of Bush-era Justice Department memorandums outlining the interrogation tactics used on prisoners by the Central Intelligence Agency. The release of the memos set off a heated political fight, with supporters of the Bush administration accusing the Obama White House of endangering the country and some of the current president's supporters calling for criminal probes of those responsible for the interrogation policies.

Question of the Day


Should the U.S. release the photos showing alleged detainee abuse?


The administration's internal deliberations on how to deal with Guantanamo detainees are continuing, as the White House wrestles with how to fulfill the president's promise to shutter the controversial prison. But some elements of the plans are emerging as the administration consults with key members of Congress, as well as with military officials, about what to do with Guantanamo detainees.


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who met this week with White House Counsel Greg Craig to discuss the administration's plans, said among the proposals being studied is seeking authority for indefinite detentions, with the imprimatur of some type of national-security court.


Sen. Graham said he wants to work with the administration to pass legislation to increase judicial oversight of military commissions, but noted the legal difficulties that would arise.





"This is a difficult question. How do you hold someone in prison without a trial indefinitely?" Sen. Graham said.


The White House had no comment Wednesday about its detainee deliberations.


The idea of a new national security court has been discussed widely in legal circles, including by Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Neal Katyal, a former Georgetown law professor and now Obama Justice Department official.


Defense Secretary Robert Gates, at a hearing last month, hinted at the administration's deliberations, saying that there were "50 to 100 [detainees] probably in that ballpark who we cannot release and cannot trust, either in Article 3 [civilian] courts or military commissions."


The administration's move to block the release of military detainee photos was welcomed by Republicans in Congress and by some military family groups but condemned by the ACLU and others.


Mr. Gates, Gen. David Petraeus and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had all raised concerns with the White House about releasing the detainee photos. Mr. Gates and the commanders worried that the pictures would spur new anti-American violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

—Yochi J. Dreazen contributed to this article.


Write to Evan Perez at evan.perez@wsj.com

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I think the further in to this, the further the President understands the implications as the intel is made known to him.


Tough decisions to follow....at least for him as releasing these people seemed to be on the plate some time back.


I trust he will make the correct decision no matter any earlier position..

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Odd, Obama is continuing the war on terror.


and, continuing Gitmo, so far.


Obama is meeting reality. He didn't have to do meet


reality in college and in the Senate for a short while.


The Obama admin is a freakin disaster.


The worst is yet to come.

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Obama didn't have much choice but to reverse his college radical dialogue


and deal with the real world.


Wake up call, eh, Obumbly ?

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Well I think that now Obama is privy to the high level intelligence in regards to the war on terror he is now seeing that it's not so easy to just let em' all go and play nice with these assholes.


I'm just glad he's heeding the intelligence advice and taking the appropriate steps to protect our troops and our citizens.


Huh? The idea was never to "play nice and let 'em all go." Come on, man. Don't go Cal on me.


And guess why we can't bring many of them to a regular trial? (I'll give you a hint: we did something to them, and it starts with a 'T', so none of that evidence can be used.)

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And guess why we can't bring many of them to a regular trial? (I'll give you a hint: we did something to them, and it starts with a 'T', so none of that evidence can be used.)


Excellent point, heck. Yet another drawback.......


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it helps when you have enough reading comprehension to get thru something touger than curious george.


You have a habit of responding with some snide remarke without addressing to who you are talking.



Are you you simple, or are you meek??


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That's choco's m.o. He comes in, drops a snide remark without really discussing the issues at all. My guess is that if he really decided to talk about the subject at hand he'd reveal how little he knows about the subject.


Or maybe he's just an asshole.


Who knows...




Maybe so......so is it is he meek or simple??



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And cal, I seriously can't believe that your still blasting Obama for this. I swear, no matter what the guy does you'll blast him. I've never come across somebody so utterly and completely blinded by partisan politics. Inspecta.


I am not blasting him. I am stating that he has changed his mind about holding the detainees,


and keeping the Patriot Act, and continuing the war on terror, and keeping military tribunals.


These are good things. I NEVER said they were bad. I simply was making the point, that


he bashed Bush, like so many others have done for the very things he is going to continue.


IOWs, some of the Bush bashing was dishonest, it was for manipulating his base, and


getting votes behind him. Now that he's elected, he is doing what he bashed.


Which means, obviously, that Bush was right in some thngs. Totally doofus in others.


But, how can libs love what Obama is doing, but they hated the same when Bush did the same?


Can you answer that? And you call ME totally partisan? You should have been around earlier, bud.


I will say it one more time, while my thumb hurts like hell and I have to keep backing up to correct


my spelling, dammit, ouch....


I have criticized Bush for some things... but these libs? cannot bring themselves to criticize


Obama no matter what he does. Even when it's what Bush started, and they hated.


And that, dammit ouch, was my point. I was not lambasting Obama for holding detainees.


Go study what I really said.

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