Sunday, October 10, 2010

What happens if we lose a big civilian terror trial?

A federal judge in New York has barred a key prosecution witness from testifying in the trial of a suspect in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa after ruling that the government learned of the man through coercive CIA interrogations at a secret prison overseas.

The ruling is a significant blow to prosecutors who had described the man as a "giant witness" in the case against Ahmed Ghailani, a Tanzanian accused of obtaining bomb material, scouting the U.S. Embassy in the Tanzanian capital and acting as guide for an Egyptian suicide bomber. Nearly simultaneous bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

The decision by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan could complicate any effort by the Obama administration to revive its plans to put major al-Qaeda figures held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on trial in civilian courts in the United States.

If the prosecution loses this trial, there will be no more civilian terror trials.

And, after the 2012 election, there will be no more President Obama.

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