Whether or not Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) objections to a civilian trial for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 conspirators have any merit, The Wall Street Journal thinks Graham is inching closer to securing a deal with the administration to trade putting KSM before a military commission in exchange for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The Journal reports that Graham has indications of support from two Republican senators for — well, actually, the Journal doesn’t say. It reports that ”Senate Democratic aides say Mr. Graham believes two other Republicans are willing to join the compromise, but they would not say who.” That’s a whip count you can believe in.
Still, the unnamed aides tell the Journal, “We’re now at the ‘getting serious’ stage.” Whether Graham can deliver Republican support to break a filibuster also depends on keeping progressive Democrats in the Senate from joining a filibuster. Those senators can be expected to be upset about a deal to military-commission Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in exchange for shutting Guantanamo’s detention facility down and moving it to Thomson prison in Illinois, where that prison will host… military commissions and indefinite detention. Meanwhile, the actual legislative vehicle for closing the Guantanamo facility is in the politically-potent Afghanistan war-funding request, raising questions about whether Graham’s deal is necessary in the first place for getting the money through.
Finally, shut out of this deal is the Justice Department, which, you know, might have some issues with this prospective deal.