Majid Khan to Accept Plea Deal

The WaPo confirms what a lot of people have been speculating: Majid Khan will accept a plea deal.

In recent days, Khan, a Pakistani citizen who was a legal U.S. resident, was moved out of the top-security Camp 7, which houses the high-value detainees, in anticipation of an arraignment next week at which he will enter a guilty plea, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity in advance of the hearing.

Khan has agreed, if requested, to testify at military commission trials in the next four years, and he would then be eligible to be transferred to Pakistan at some point after that, the officials said. Khan has a wife and daughter in Pakistan.

The officials would not specify the amount of time Khan would serve if he fulfilled his obligations under the agreement.

What I haven’t seen anyone explain, however, is why the government has suddenly offered Khan a plea deal. It suggests they either can’t build a case against him themselves–a possibility given that they’re charging him for an assassination attempt that apparently involved no bomb–or that they’ve decided they don’t have enough untainted evidence against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 plotters without someone like Khan testifying. It further suggests they don’t want to rely on Khan’s own testimony given in custody, probably because that, too, is tainted.

Though they must not be close to trying the 9/11 plotters, given that Khan will have to stick around for four years to testify, if needed.

But I’ll make a prediction. I bet Khan will do less time–for his empty suicide vest and for couriering money for terrorist plots-than Amine el-Khalifi, the guy with a similarly empty suicide vest who thought he was going to strike the Capital last week. If that’s true, it won’t be clear whether to blame it on the torture or the inadequate military commissions.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

5 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    …or that they’ve decided they don’t have enough untainted evidence against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 plotters without someone like Khan testifying. It further suggests they don’t want to rely on Khan’s own testimony given in custody, probably because that, too, is tainted.

    Yep.

  2. Bob Schacht says:

    @bmaz: So, what we have instead of fair trials is indefinite retention of detainees for which the evidence of any wrong-doing is tainted?

    Gee, that way, we don’t need judges, we don’t need juries, we don’t need expensive trials… Why, we could balance the budget with all the money we’d save!

    /s

    What present policies do is to validate “tainted” practices. If we really applied the Constitution to these cases, we’d have to set some of these detainees free. But then, if these released detainees misbehaved, the people getting the blame should be the captors, not the courts. The captors have no motivation to reform their practices now, because, macht nicht, we can hold them indefinitely anyway!

    We must put an end to the damned AUMF. That would at least put an end to the specious rationalizations for ripping up the Constitution that are currently so much in evidence.

    Bob in AZ

  3. Bob Schacht says:

    @Jeff Kaye: Noticeably absent from your 3 C’s is the Constitution, Courts, and Conviction. These guys just never thought that due process would be an issue. They saw themselves either as above the law, or beyond the reach of the law. They were outlaws.

    Bob in AZ

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