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March 8th, 2013
Bin Laden's Son-In-Law

Bin Laden's Son-In-Law is in New York City, Not Gitmo

The arrest and detention of Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, has reopened the question of whether top al Qaeda figures captured by the U.S. should be tried in civilian courts or in military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.

By law, Abu Ghaith should have been transferred to military detention under the provisions of the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which requires all members of al Qaeda or associated forces to be taken into military custody at least temporarily.

But the NDAA provides a wide carve out for the commander-in-chief's discretion in war time. And the President is authorized to waive the requirement entirely if he certifies to Congress that end-running the law is in the national security interests of the United States.


Several senior administration officials tell TIME Obama exercised the waiver in Abu Ghaith's case after consulting his top aides, opting to send Ghaith to trial in the Southern District of New York rather than to Gitmo.

"The President’s national security team - including the Defense Department and members of the Intelligence Community, the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and the Department of Justice - unanimously agreed that prosecution of Ghaith in federal court will best protect the national security interests of the United States," one senior official said.

Ooooh, so Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law is in New York City instead of Gitmo because Obama said it was okay?  Well, that clears this whole confusion up - move along, folks.  Nothing to see here. 


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