Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday hailed the Obama administration's decision to abandon efforts to try five Guantanamo Bay detainees accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 terrorist in civilian rather than military trials.
“It's the right decision more than two years too late,” Rumsfeld said Wednesday on Fox. Rumsfeld unveiled the Bush administration’s plans to try terror suspects in military tribunals in March, 2002.
“The structures that were put in place from a dead stop after 9/11 were the right structures,” he said. “Military commissions, indefinite detention, the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay.”
On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and co-conspirators Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi would be referred to the Defense Department to be brought before military commissions.
When asked if he felt “vindicated” by the recent decision, Rumsfeld said that the Bush administration should feel that they found “basically the right things to do to protect the American people. And they did it rapidly and in a matter that was successful and they did it amid all kinds of criticism from various corners and in fact, they've stood the test of time. Military commissions fit the problem.”
Monday’s decision was a shift in the administration’s policy for handling the cases, and holding the military commission proceedings will surely complicate any effort by the administration to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, as President Obama pledged to do. Holder said it is still the administration’s intention to close the facility but that the timeline for doing so will “probably” be extended.