The PJ Tatler

Pentagon and White House cross swords?

According to this article,

In a surprise announcement, Pentagon prosecutors have declared their intention to re-file war crimes charges against the mastermind of the deadly attack on the American warship, the USS Cole, in the Port of Aden, Yemen on October 12, 2000.

Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed and 40 other American service personnel were wounded when a small vessel, laden with explosives and manned with suicide bombers, rammed into the American Navy warship.

The announcement included the original request of the military prosecution for an imposition of the death penalty on the self-admitted Cole bomber, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 46, the former al-Qaeda chief of operations for the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Nashiri hails from Saudi Arabia and is of Yemeni descent.

. . . .

Eleven charges are being leveled against al-Nashiri in the Pentagon’s 13-page charge sheet, including murder in violation of the law of war, treachery, terrorism and conspiring with Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri, among others. The sheet also listed the names of each sailor that died in the USS Cole attack.

This appears to be at odds with the White House position as taken in August of last year that it was not considering prosecution of al-Nashiri, saying in court documents that

“no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to al-Nashiri in the near future.” Prosecutors will now need the approval of retired Vice Admiral Bruce McDonald, the Pentagon appointee overseeing the Guantanamo tribunals to proceed with the charges. If the charge sheet is approved, al-Nashiri would face the first-ever capital prosecution at the war court called Camp Justice. (emphasis added)

Try the poor soul by military commission? As a capital case?  That would certainly upset some of President Obama’s more Librul supporters. However, there is nothing inconsistent in the tendency of Administration colleagues to speak inconsistently as the boss dithers.

What Gibbs?