(Abu Ghaith and bin-Laden in 2002; courtesy of Rapho-Gamma via Getty Images)
Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law/infamous spokesman for al-qaeda was captured in Jordan and transported to New York City this week. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is an advocate for al-Qaeda, who took responsibility alongside bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks. He has appeared in videos since 9/11 promising that such attacks would continue. Abu Ghaith has faced FBI interrogation in New York City for the last few days, has since been indicted with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, and is to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday the 8th. Several U.S. Senators spoke out today about how this al-qaeda senior leader should have been taken immediately to GITMO instead of allowing him to be tried in a civilian court. House Intelligence Chair Mike Rogers stated, “Al-Qaeda leaders captured on the battlefield should not be brought to the United States to stand trial. We should treat enemy combatants like the enemy. The U.S. court system is not the appropriate venue.”
The Obama administration has been trying to empty out GITMO, not bring new prisoners. This man, however, is no normal prisoner. FBI Assistant Director in Charge, George Venizelos, claimed, “Sulaiman Abu Ghaith held a key position in al-qaeda, comparable to the consigliere in a mob family or propaganda minister in a totalitarian regime. He used his position to persuade others to swear loyalty to al-qaeda’s murderous cause. He used his position to threaten the United States and incite its enemies.”
This capture raises several questions. Should Abu Ghaith have been brought to the US where he will receive a fair trial, or should he have been immediately detained at GITMO? Should the U.S. have been willing to (arguably) violate international law and arbitrarily detain Abu Ghaith? Also, his charge, conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, carries with it a maximum punishment of life in prison. Is this enough? Lastly, I just want to note that much credit is due to the Obama administration for continuing to find success in capturing these al-qaeda terrorists.