Bush acknowledged for the first time the existence of secret prisons to hold terrorist suspects, and outlined how the CIA and the government's intelligence and law enforcement agencies were fighting a secret war against Al Qaeda to "stop attacks before they occur."
He detailed how the administration plans to legally try the more than 400 detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.The suspects will be transferred to Defense Department custody as a first step in preparing them for trial, a senior administration official. The suspects would be afforded some legal protections consistent with the Geneva conventions, he said.
In addition to Sheik Mohammed, believed to be the No. 3 Al Qaeda leader before his capture in Pakistan in 2003, the suspects include: Ramzi Binalshibh, an alleged would-be Sept. 11 hijacker; and, Abu Zubaydah, who U.S. intelligence officials believe was a key link between Usama bin Laden and many Al Qaeda cells. Zubaydah also was captured in Pakistan, in March 2002.
Now the President and Congress have to work out legislation to try these men which will no doubt be used for future trials as well. No doubt there will be lawyers from groups such as the ACLU looking for anything that can be construed as unconstitutional. Let's hope some of these Republican lawyers know what they are doing.