WAR ON TERROR

Interrogating Benghazi suspect at sea isn’t a new tactic

 

By incarcerating and interrogating at sea the man captured in Libya as a suspect in the Benghazi consulate attack, the Obama administration is reaching back to a tactic used during the Bush era.

crosenberg@MiamiHerald.com

By incarcerating and interrogating at sea the man captured in Libya as a suspect in the Benghazi consulate attack, the Obama administration is reaching back to a tactic used during the Bush era.

The so-called American Taliban, John Walker Lindh, was kept aboard the amphibious assault ship the USS Peleliu in 2001 and the USS Bataan until Jan. 22, 2002, while the Bush administration decided what to do with the 20-year-old California native labeled prisoner 001 in the war on terror.

On the ship, U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty wrote in an April 2, 2002, court filing, “he was given regular and nourishing meals and unlimited water; he was permitted to talk with his fellow detainees; and he was repeatedly queried by Peleliu personnel whether there was anything else he needed.”

Lindh was ultimately brought to U.S. shores for a federal trial, and an eventual plea agreement that could leave him locked up until 2019, but another detainee at sea was apparently David Hicks, an Australian “enemy combatant” who was brought to Guantánamo the day the prison opened as Detainee 002.

According to a U.S. military intelligence report written at Guantánamo on Sept. 17, 2004, Hicks, captured by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, “was turned over to U.S. Forces and incarcerated on the USS Pettiloo.”

Guantánamo’s prison commander, Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, signed the document.

It was the Peleliu, according to Australian journalist Leigh Sales, who describes in her book, Detainee 002: The Case of David Hicks, how Australian government officials got to see him aboard the warship.

“The terms were very restrictive,” she wrote in a chapter called “Waltzing with Washington.” Hicks would get “no consular assistance whatsoever,” she wrote. Nor could they offer him legal advice or read him his rights.

It took nearly two years before Hicks got a lawyer — a U.S. Marine major who helped him plead guilty in exchange for his release in 2007. Hicks married and lives in Australia now, as does the Marine who set up a law practice there after leaving the U.S. service.

The London-based legal defense group Reprieve put a spotlight on the policy of interrogating at sea in a 2008 report that identified the Peleliu and the USS Bataan as at-sea interrogations sites.

The group’s legal director, Clive Stafford Smith, called the tactic a way to keep “misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers.” Reprieve called them “floating prisons,” and said the practice was illegal.

The Obama administration apparently did not agree and adopted the same strategy two years ago after the U.S. military captured Somali Ahmed Abdulkadr Warsame in the Gulf of Aden.

Warsame was interrogated for two months at sea “consistent with the Army Field Manual,” according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman. Then he was transferred to New York, where he was read his Miranda rights. He waived them, talked some more and ultimately pleaded guilty to aiding the terror groups al-Shabaab and al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula.

Last year, U.S. Special Forces captured Libyan Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, 49, in Tripoli, Libya, as a U.S. terror suspect.

He was known as Abu Anas al Libi, and made the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list as a former resident of the United Kingdom under indictment in New York for his alleged involvement in the Aug. 7, 1998, bombings of U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.

He was captured Oct. 5, and interrogated aboard the USS San Antonio in the Mediterranean Sea. U.S. Special Forces and brought him to New York 10 days later for medical treatment and arraignment.

Portions of this report are from a story originally posted on Oct. 8, 2013, and are being updated in light of the latest detention of a terror suspect at sea.

Read more Nation stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, William Lee Jones, left, and Aaron Huntsman kiss during a celebration Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Key West, Fla. Jones and Huntsman and about 100 other people marked a Florida Keys judge's ruling overturning Florida's ban on same-sex marriage on Thursday after the couple's legal challenge. (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Andy Newman)

    Gay marriage

    Monroe judge denies gay Key West bartenders’ plea to let them marry Tuesday

    Two gay Key West bartenders asked Monroe Chief Circuit Judge Luis Garcia to lift an automatic stay and allow them to marry Tuesday. The judge declined.

  • UKRAINE SHOOTDOWN

    Flight victim was 1990 graduate of Palmer

    Waiting tables, being an administrative assistant and working in customer service paid the bills at various times for 1990 Palmer School graduate Kevin Jesurun, a native of the Netherlands Antilles who died when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crashed in the Ukraine. Jeserun’s loves, however, clearly were laughter and soccer.

  •  
In this Thursday July 17, 2014, photo, Aaron Huntsman, left, and William Jones, right, greet the crowd gathered at Aqua Night Club in Key West, Fla. The couple is challenging the state of Florida's ban on gay marriage. Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia on Thursday overturned Florida's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, a move that was quickly appealed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. (AP Photo/Key West Citizen, Rob O'Neal)

    Gay marriage

    Keys clerk’s office: We’re ready to marry gay couples

    Same-sex couples from around the state made plans to go to the Keys to marry after a Monroe County judge overthrew the state’s gay-marriage ban. But a stay means no same-sex weddings for the moment.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category