Underplayed Story of the Day

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The chief military prosecutor in the effort to charge and try the detainees at Guantanamo abruptly quits as the result of a dispute with his superiors. More than five years after the first of the detainees arrived at Guantanamo, only one war-crimes case has been disposed of–and that one by a plea bargain. Part of the backstory:

Davis, a veteran military lawyer who had served in the position for at least two years, lately had chafed under the second-guessing and micromanaging of Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, who this summer became legal advisor to the tribunal convening authority, an attorney general-like post.

Hartmann has urged the prosecution to move forward with trials of the “high-value” detainees rather than try smaller fish in the pool for whom prosecutors have more convincing evidence and better-prepared cases. The prosecution was prodded to proceed on those cases before all the commissions’ procedural codes were adopted and legal challenges had been worked out.

The 16 “high-value” suspects, including accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, were transferred there from secret CIA prisons a year ago.