Court Ruling: Gitmo Brass Shrugs, Bush Lawyer Shudders
The admiral in charge of the Guantanamo military detention center said he doubts Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on presidential authority will have any effect on his operations. But a Bush administration lawyer wasn’t as sanguine, saying about the decision, “It’s very broad, it’s very significant, and it’s a slam.”
GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba, June 29 ? As the Supreme Court prepared to rule on the Bush administration’s plan to try terror suspects before special military tribunals here, the commander of Guantánamo’s military detention center was asked what impact the court’s decision might have on its operations.
“If they rule against the government, I don’t see how that is going to affect us,” the commander, Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris, said Tuesday evening as he sat in a conference room in his headquarters. “From my perspective, I think the direct impact will be negligible.”
The Defense Department repeated that view on Thursday, asserting that the court’s sweeping ruling against the tribunals did not undermine the government’s argument that it can hold foreign suspects indefinitely and without charge, as “enemy combatants” in its declared war on terror.