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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

(Updates x 2) Oh the Irony: Former U.S. Attorney Iglesias Now Set to Prosecute Gitmo Cases

Update 2: TPM provides additional info on the assigment of Iglesias to prosecute Gitmo prisoners. It had nothing to do with the Obama administration, though the timing hinted it might be.
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Update 1: Just past midnight, President Obama put an immediate halt to the Bush administration’s military commissions system for prosecuting detainees at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
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Local KRQE News 13 had the scoop this morning (see above video) and an item on TPMMuckraker today comments:

David Iglesias -- the former US Attorney who was fired in 2006 for failing to prosecute politically motivated cases as aggressively as the Bush administration and its allies wanted -- has a new job.

Iglesias, a member of the US Naval Reserve JAG corps, has been reactivated as part of a special prosecution team for Guantanamo detainees, he told a New Mexico news station this morning.

"One hundred percent of what I'm doing is prosecuting terrorist cases out of Guantanamo," he said.

Igleisas explained that he had already begun the work, having travelled to the facility once, and expecting to go back.

"It's the most significant set of orders I've had in my 24 years of navy service," he added. "The level of detail that I'm looking into some of these terrorist groups, it just takes my breath away."

Fired in the Bush era for alleged incompetence, Iglesias himself sees the irony of being given responsibilities related to some of the nation's most controversial and serious national security matters:

And he signaled what seemed to be a change in tone from the Bush years. "We want to make sure that those terrorists that did commit acts will be brought to justice -- and those that did not will be released."

Asked about the unlikelihood of being named to a frontline job in the war on terror, after being fired as a US Attorney for alienating the Bush administration, Iglesias allowed: "It's been very ironic."

President Obama has promised to shut down the U.S. holding facility at Guantanamo as soon as possible, although clearing out the prison will take time. It's being reported he will issue orders shortly to put a hold on current prosecutions until a thorough assessment is conducted and decisions are made about how to proceed. The legal considerations are complex, to say the least. But it does look like Iglesias will play a role in the process.

January 21, 2009 at 10:14 AM in Civil Liberties, Justice, Military Affairs, Terrorism, U.S. Attorney Iglesias | Permalink

Comments

Congrats Mr Iglesias, probably one of the very few Republicans that I admire and have a lot of respect for. I believe he is a man of integrity, will represent the USA well in this endeavor. I hope he can some day return to the Justice Department. Former Senator Domenici and Rep Wilson ought to be ashamed of themselves for the part they played in his firing.

Posted by: VP | Jan 22, 2009 7:49:08 AM