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Mukasey on Guantanamo

The House Judiciary Committee is, thankfully, taking a recess from its plodding interrogation of AG Michael Mukasey. The most notable moments have occurred when lawmakers asked Mukasey about innocent people now detained at Guantanamo Bay. If Mukasey is losing sleep over providing justice for these people, he’s not showing it. He just told Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) that everybody detained at Guantanamo is an illegal enemy combatant. But what about people that might challenge their detention and be released? Mukasey seems most concerned that those people don’t end up in America, because they don’t have U.S. citizenship rights and would, therefore be illegal immigrants.

Does Mukasey think Guantanamo should be closed? He answered by noting that in World War II the U.S. held thousands of prisoners of war. What about the fact both Barack Obama and John McCain have mentioned closing Guantanamo? Mukasey elusively says “they would want to close it responsibly, and by responsibly…that’s exactly what I mean.”

The attorney general seems almost disinterested in the issue. He’s not arguing for Guantanamo. But he won’t even give lawmakers the satisfaction of saying it should be shut down or at least that some of the prisoners should be released. Maybe better questions from committee members this afternoon will lead to more revealing answers.

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