- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Senate’s top Republican Thursday sharply attacked the Obama administration’s handling of the trial against Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Ghailani, a day after a New York City jury acquitted the Tanzanian native of all but one of some 280-plus charges related to the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Asia.

The verdict was seen as an early test case of President Obama’s contention that U.S. courts were the proper venue to try other terror detainees now in custody, including professed Sept. 11 mastermind and top al Qaeda operative Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. The federal jury convicted Mr. Ghailani of one count of conspiracy to destroy U.S. property but found him not guilty on more serious murder charges related to the 224 people — including 12 Americans — killed in the embassy attacks.

Wednesday’s verdict “is all the proof we need that the administration’s approach to prosecuting terrorists has been deeply misguided and indeed potentially harmful as a matter of national security,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said.

Mr. McConnell said the verdict raised new questions about the approach championed by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Americans, he said are “now wondering when the administration will admit it was wrong,” he said. “When it comes to terrorism, we should err on the side of protecting the American people.”

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