...there is no question about the legitimacy of U.S. federal courts to incapacitate terrorists. Many of Holder's critics appear to have forgotten that the Bush administration used civilian courts to put away dozens of terrorists, including "shoe bomber" Richard Reid; al-Qaeda agent Jose Padilla; "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh; the Lackawanna Six; and Zacarias Moussaoui, who was prosecuted for the same conspiracy for which Mohammed is likely to be charged. Many of these terrorists are locked in a supermax prison in Colorado, never to be seen again.More on other prosecutions of terror suspects in the U.S. here. And on the specific point about getting information, it's well known that Ahmed Ressam, the "Millenium bomber," for example, cooperated with American authorities for a few years before clamming up. There are no guarantees about getting information, either way, through the court system or the military commission route. But with the stunning lack of success in the military commission system (with prosecutions), it's remarkable to hear Republicans still touting its merits, it's clearly all political for them. The generalities offered up by the likes of the discredited Rove politicos clearly need to be kept in perspective.
In terrorist trials over the past 15 years, federal prosecutors and judges have gained extensive experience protecting intelligence sources and methods, limiting a defendant's ability to raise irrelevant issues and tightly controlling the courtroom.
Update: And on this general topic today, a great letter in the Globe:
Permit me to offer a suggestion. The airline should designate a crew member as master at arms. He or she will select a dozen able-bodied passengers from those waiting at the gate. Those chosen will be issued truncheons; they’ll be boarded last and announced as they take their seats along the aisles. In the event of any terrorist action, the master at arms will call on them to subdue the perpetrator(s). Apart from added security, this will provide those flying the satisfaction of doing something apart from being patted down and herded like sheep.
Michael Egan, Pierrefonds, Que.