US moves Marines in position to support Tripoli embassy

posted at 9:21 am on October 8, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The government in Libya has called the US ambassador on the carpet over the seizure of Abu Anas al-Libi, the suspected mastermind behind the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, but the Libyan government is hardly our biggest worry.  Early this morning, the US repositioned an emergency task force of 200 Marines to our naval base in Italy, on alert in case the embassy in Tripoli comes under attack from some of al-Libi’s allies:

Two hundred heavily armed Marines have been moved to the U.S. naval base at Sigonella, Italy, from their base in Spain to respond to any potential security crisis for the U.S. Embassy diplomatic mission in Libya, a U.S. military official told CNN. The move happened on Monday the official said. The move, made in coordination with the State Department, was made “as a prudent measure” in the wake of the US military raid to capture Abu Anas al Libi, the 49-year-old alleged al Qaeda operative.

Looks like the White House has learned from experience. Not to put too fine a point on this, but it’s the kind of move that should have been made to protect our consulate and other assets in Benghazi on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, especially given the environment in eastern Libya.

Those Marines might well be needed in Tripoli, too. The Russian embassy came under attack last week by radical Islamist extremists, and they have more reason now to go after the American embassy after al-Libi’s capture.  The Libyan government promised to work harder to secure foreign embassies in the capital, but that’s a pretty weak promise, considering that their military couldn’t clear the street in front of its own Defense Ministry headquarters in May.  By June, they couldn’t stop the fighting in the streets of Tripoli between various militias and terrorist groups. “The shores of Tripoli” reference in the Marine Corps Hymn may become a modern reality.

Meanwhile, what about al-Libi? As noted yesterday, the US is wisely treating him as a captured intelligence asset rather than a suspect in a crime, at least until they can extract all of the information they can from him.  Normally this kind of work would be done at a “black site” abroad or at Guantanamo Bay, but Barack Obama refuses to use either one.  Instead, the Associated Press reports, he’s decided to have the Navy provide floating Gitmos:

Instead of sending suspected terrorists to Guantanamo Bay or secret CIA “black” sites for interrogation, the Obama administration is questioning terrorists for as long as it takes aboard U.S. naval vessels.

And it’s doing it in a way that preserves the government’s ability to ultimately prosecute the suspects in civilian courts. …

Questioning suspected terrorists aboard U.S. warships in international waters is President Barack Obama’s answer to the Bush administration detention policies that candidate Obama promised to end. The strategy also makes good on Obama’s pledge to prosecute terrorists in U.S. civilian courts, which many Republicans have argued against. But it also raises questions about using “law of war” powers to circumvent the safeguards of the U.S. criminal justice system.

By holding people in secret prisons, known as black sites, the CIA was able to question them over long periods, using the harshest interrogation tactics, without giving them access to lawyers. Obama came to office without a ready replacement for those secret prisons. The concern was that if a terrorist was sent directly to court, the government might never know what intelligence he had. With the black sites closed and Obama refusing to send more people to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, it wasn’t obvious where the U.S. would hold people for interrogation.

And that’s where the warships came in.

Does that really preserve the government’s ability to try al-Libi in federal court? The Obama administration succeeded in 2011 using this model, but Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame made it easier by pleading guilty.  Allahpundit wrote about the murky issues left by Warsame’s surprising plea in 2011, but I’ll just add that the obstacles of detention and intelligence extraction to a civilian court proceeding remain whether Gitmo floats or not.  The only saving grace here is that we’ve had a case on al-Libi for more than a decade, and his interrogation is likely to focus entirely on existing threats rather than his 1998 crimes.  This model may have the same problems as the Gitmo/black site models if a defendant is sophisticated enough to do a Google search or hire a better lawyer than Warsame’s.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

200 Marines in Italy, why not just pull the Ambassador until things cool down a bit. By the time a vacillating Dog Eater grudgingly agrees to send in the troops it will be too late to save anyone.

Bishop on October 8, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Floating Gitmo’s,

well,there won’t be a shortage of water,in case
somebody gets water-boarded!

Boyo,are the Libs going to be p*ssed
with there Noble Peace Prize President,

aka,..Hopey/Changey!!

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Considering what happened to the previous ambassador to Libya, I’m actually stunned to learn someone else took the job.

Bitter Clinger on October 8, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Good! They can protect Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi!

What?

Wino on October 8, 2013 at 9:28 AM

200 Marines in Italy, why not just pull the Ambassador until things cool down a bit. By the time a vacillating Dog Eater grudgingly agrees to send in the troops it will be too late to save anyone.

Bishop on October 8, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Benghazi II: The Tripoli Edition

Bitter Clinger on October 8, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Rendition on water is DIFFERENT…unless, of course, there are too many Marines because that might tip the floating black site over.

Resist We Much on October 8, 2013 at 9:29 AM

200 Marines in Italy, why not just pull the Ambassador until things cool down a bit. By the time a vacillating Dog Eater grudgingly agrees to send in the troops it will be too late to save anyone.

Bishop on October 8, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Bishop:

Thats crazy talk, and ruin, Democrats Job Creation Plan,
once an Ambassador is gone,Hopey will replace them,oh,and
he/she will get free health-care to boot!!
(sarc)

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Ehh! What difference does it make?

blammm on October 8, 2013 at 9:31 AM

… it’s the kind of move that should have been made to protect our consulate and other assets in Benghazi on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 …

True, but, Ambassador Stevens was a “loose end” who knew too much – which is why Hillary left the Benghazi embassy unsecured, and why obama gave the “STAND DOWN” order and allowed the embassy to be overrun and Stevens to be slaughtered – Smith, Doherty and Woods were collateral damage that obama and Hillary did not expect.

Pork-Chop on October 8, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Has Youtube been alerted to pull any videos possibly offensive to muslim?

Flange on October 8, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Rendition on water is DIFFERENT…unless, of course, there are too many Marines because that might tip the floating black site over.

Resist We Much on October 8, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Resist We Much:

Agreed,the Guam Island TipOver Affect/Effect!:0

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 9:40 AM

MeanWhile,…………………

Reuters Top News ‏@Reuters 2h

Libya militants seek to avenge al Qaeda leader capture http://reut.rs/19cRIcY
======================

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/08/us-libya-security-attacks-idUSBRE99706Y20131008?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=992637

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 7:32 AM

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 9:43 AM

As a VN Vet, USMC, todays 200 Marines are better than 200 in my day. Their equipment, training and leadership is terrific.

Now will BHO let them get on a plane to get from Italy to Lybia? Or will he sleep on it?

Sabercat2 on October 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Agreed,the Guam Island TipOver Affect/Effect!:0 canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 9:40 AM

I just hope the Marines have lots of those magazines for there weapons. ‘Cause, yah know, once you use a magazine it can’t be reloaded. s/

Mojave Mark on October 8, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Reality has finally come to Obama:
His Muslim Brotherhood dream is gone.
They are all in jail or in hiding.

Obama must regroup and fall back to plan A…do what George Bush would do…

albill on October 8, 2013 at 9:55 AM

but it’s the kind of move that should have been made to protect our consulate and other assets in Benghazi on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11,

That’s the first thing I thought when I read that headline. “Heavily armed” never even occurred to the former SOS, or if it did it was after the fact. She’s still not been held accountable for her incompetence. The second thing I thought was ya know, Kerry has outshined her on multiple levels in a very short time. He’s run circles around her. Maybe HE’s planning a run in 2016.

scalleywag on October 8, 2013 at 10:18 AM

US raids in Somalia, Libya, Oct. 5, 2013

Update: 300 US Marines in place at Naval Air Station in the event of need for quick reaction force in Libya, senior defense official says – @NBCNews

59 secs ago by editor
==========================

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Normally this kind of work would be done at a “black site” abroad or at Guantanamo Bay, but Barack Obama refuses to use either one. Instead, the Associated Press reports, he’s decided to have the Navy provide floating Gitmos:

Do I have to state the obvious? This also makes all Navy warships into targets in a way they were not targets before. Especially when the reports include the fact that Abu Anas al-Libi is being interrogated on the USS San Antonio. Seems like the lazy stupid coward wants another USS Cole incident to round out the many ways he has managed to kill members of the military through his gross incompetence and reckless disregard of military members lives in the wake of a partisan political agenda. The vast majority of casualties in Afghanistan have occured since January 2009, looks like the Obama wants to kill off more sailors now.

Happy Nomad on October 8, 2013 at 10:27 AM

And don’t forget kids, we put these guys in charge of Libya! Only cost a bunch of $$$ in the form of cruise missiles. And a few lives, but… well, at least AQ has a place to stay now.

WitchDoctor on October 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Not to put too fine a point on this, but it’s the kind of move that should have been made to protect our consulate and other assets in Benghazi on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, especially given the environment in eastern Libya.

And a very obvious move. So obvious, in fact, that the failure to do it in Benghazi raises all kinds of questions, and is some of the best evidence that there was something highly suspect going on in Benghazi.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 8, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Questioning suspected terrorists aboard U.S. warships in international waters is President Barack Obama’s answer to the Bush administration detention policies that candidate Obama promised to end. The strategy also makes good on Obama’s pledge to prosecute terrorists in U.S. civilian courts, which many Republicans have argued against. But it also raises questions about using “law of war” powers to circumvent the safeguards of the U.S. criminal justice system.

By holding people in secret prisons, known as black sites, the CIA was able to question them over long periods, using the harshest interrogation tactics, without giving them access to lawyers. Obama came to office without a ready replacement for those secret prisons. The concern was that if a terrorist was sent directly to court, the government might never know what intelligence he had. With the black sites closed and Obama refusing to send more people to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, it wasn’t obvious where the U.S. would hold people for interrogation.

And that’s where the warships came in.

This makes no sense. The reason for black sites in foreign lands was to avoid the issue of US control and laws. Replacing them with interrogation on US Navy ships is hardly an improvement.

It seems the main purpose of using US Navy ships is to claim that you don’t send these terrorists to Guantanamo. No, that would be inhumane. Instead, you interrogate them on the functional equivalent of Gitmo on US Navy ships.

So this practice can’t replace “black sites,” and offers absolutely no advantage over Gitmo. I guess the whole point is to pretend you’re doing something different.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 8, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Floating Gitmo’s,

well,there won’t be a shortage of water,in case
somebody gets water-boarded!

Boyo,are the Libs going to be p*ssed
with there Noble Peace Prize President,

aka,..Hopey/Changey!!

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 9:27 AM

According to Hank Johnson the actual Gitmo is floating too because it’s on an island.

Bishop on October 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Maybe the US Navy should build a prison ship and that’s the one we will call the USS Obama. Use an old oil tanker hull maybe.

slickwillie2001 on October 8, 2013 at 11:04 AM

At this point, what difference does it make!

rjoco1 on October 8, 2013 at 11:07 AM

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 9:27 AM

According to Hank Johnson the actual Gitmo is floating too because it’s on an island.

Bishop on October 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Bishop:D*mmitt, now you tell me, ugh, I’m always the last to know,
curses!:)

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 11:30 AM

US raids in Somalia, Libya, Oct. 5, 2013

US citizens threatened with attack, kidnap in Libya after terror raid – @GlobalPost

1 min ago from worldnews.nbcnews.com by editor
===================================================

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/08/20870872-us-citizens-threatened-with-attack-kidnap-in-libya-after-terror-raid?lite

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 12:03 PM

US raids in Somalia, Libya, Oct. 5, 2013

Libyan citizens must be tried in their own country, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan says – @AlArabiya_Eng

42 secs ago from english.alarabiya.net by editor
====================================================

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/10/08/Libyan-PM-citizens-must-be-tried-in-Libya-.html

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 12:05 PM

uh… Justin… Timberlake? Who knew!? Sure, he dyed his hair black, but that disguise isn’t really working.

kburchard on October 8, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Way to advertise. What if the terrorists call our bluff? Will the marines be allowed to actually go to Libya? Serious doubts.

TerryW on October 8, 2013 at 12:24 PM

They should be moving them into position to assault that Somali resort town now that AQ has sent in reinforcements.

http://truthandcommonsense.com/2013/10/08/and-now-you-send-in-the-marines-seals-miss-the-target-but-create-many-more/

archer52 on October 8, 2013 at 4:22 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make? – SOS Killery Clinton

Ony 400 days TOO LATE for Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods and Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Missilengr on October 8, 2013 at 4:37 PM