Inside the Ring

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“The annual report demonstrates U.S. resolve to hold China to a higher standard of military transparency, as per our constant rhetoric,” he said. “Democracies need a surplus of facts in order to survive, especially about our adversaries. … If this report disappoints Congress, it should demand a rewrite.”

A Pentagon spokeswoman said the report is currently “in coordination.” A White House spokesman had no comment.

SEALs courts-martial

Three Navy SEALs are on their way to Iraq to face their accuser, a terrorism suspect who claims one of them struck him after he was captured.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe and Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Hertas will be in Baghdad for separate courts-martial April 19 and April 22, respectively, on charges of dereliction of duty.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe, who is charged with striking Ahmed Hashim Abed last September, will be in Baghdad for Mr. Abed’s deposition.

Petty Officer McCabe has opted to face trial in Norfolk, rather than Iraq, next month. He denies striking Mr. Abed. Prosecutors and defense lawyers will question Mr. Abed on videotape, which will be shown to Petty Officer McCabe’s military jury.

A source close to the case tells special correspondent Rowan Scarborough that the three SEALs were told they may not carry weapons in Iraq, where they once hunted most-wanted terrorists in Anbar province. Military personnel in Iraq typically carry a firearm.

The joke being told in SEAL circles is that the three are returning as “tourists” to the land where they executed a perfect snatch operation of a terrorist, only to find themselves facing military criminal charges.

The military believes Mr. Abed planned the killings of four Blackwater security guards in Fallujah in 2004. Two of the mutilated bodies of the guards were hung on a bridge over the Euphrates River.

A U.S. spokesman in Baghdad said Mr. Abed was being held under a judge’s order but would provide no details on his case.

Mr. Abed claims he was punched by Petty Officer McCabe while in custody before he was turned over to authorities in Baghdad.

CIA-Justice probe update

A second senior House Republican is calling on the Obama administration to provide Congress with information on the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Justice Department and CIA into whether defense lawyers for terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, endangered the lives of CIA interrogators.

Rep. Darrell Issa, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, stated in a letter sent on Wednesday to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that he would like information on the probe into the activities of a group known as the John Adams Project, an American Civil Liberties Union-backed program.

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About the Author

Bill Gertz INSIDE THE RING

Bill Gertz is geopolitics editor and a national security and investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

Mr. Gertz also writes a weekly column ...

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