Category Archives: Karen J. Greenberg

Online Chat with Karen Greenberg! Today at Noon

Via WNYC’s It’s A Free Country‘s Twelve o’Clock Tuesdays, CLS Executive Director Karen Greenberg will participate in an online chat and discuss the killing of Osama bin Laden. You can participate here!

Official CLS Statement on Nir Rosen

From Karen J. Greenberg, Executive Director, Center on Law and Security

Nir Rosen is always provocative, but he crossed the line yesterday with his comments about Lara Logan. I am deeply distressed by what he wrote about Ms. Logan and strongly denounce his comments. They were cruel and insensitive and completely unacceptable. Mr. Rosen tells me that he misunderstood the severity of the attack on her in Cairo. He has apologized, withdrawn his remarks, and submitted his resignation as a fellow, which I have accepted. However, this in no way compensates for the harm his comments have inflicted. We are all horrified by what happened to Ms. Logan, and our thoughts are with her during this difficult time.


Today’s Terrorism News

Arrest at Fort Gordon, “Several Possible Grenades” Found

In two separate incidents, U.S. military officials have arrested individuals trying to carry weapons onto bases in the United States. At CENTCOM headquarters – MacDill Air Force Base outside of Tampa, Florida – a couple was discovered attempting to bring ammunition and weapons onto the base on Monday. Little information has been released on the pair of intruders. Spc. Christopher Paul Kilburn had been stationed with Alpha Company, 1-16th 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan. and was AWOL; his companion was Palm Beach resident Micah Noel Goodier. Reuters, AP, On Tuesday, “several possible grenades” were found in a vehicle at Fort Gordon, near Augusta, Georgia. The vehicle’s driver was impersonating a soldier and is now in FBI custody.  CNN, NBC Augusta.


A Washington Post editorial highlights the case of Mohamed Mohamed Hassan Odaini, a Yemeni who has served eight years in Guantanamo, and urges the government to make an exception to the ban on returning detainees to Yemen for Mr. Odaini. The Post echoes the implications of the ruling made by Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr., who, in a decision publicly released last week, determined that Odaini should be freed. “The evidence before the Court shows that holding Odaini in custody at such great cost to him has done nothing to make the United States more secure,” wrote Kennedy. The editorial briefly describes the story of Odaini, who inadvertently spent the night at a friend’s house that was raided as an al Qaeda sanctuary – and who as a result was incarcerated at Gitmo from the ages of 18-16 for this “life-altering decision to spend the night.”

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Today’s Terrorism News

Twelve Americans Detained in Yemen

The State Department said yesterday that 12 Americans are being detained in Yemen, although the reasons they are being detained aren’t known, according to the New York Times.

Other U.S. Citizens Held Abroad

A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry says the country has no intention of trading the three American hikers detained there for an Iranian scientist the country believes to be held in the U.S., says the AP. The hikers have been charged with spying.

A judge in Rwanda has refused bail to Peter Erlinder, lead defense counsel for top genocide suspects at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Erlinder is charged with denying the 1994 genocide and publishing articles threatening Rwanda’s security. The U.S. has called on the Rwandan authorities to release Erlinder, a U.S. attorney, who has denied all charges.

The Center on Law and Security wonders how many American citizens are being held abroad on terrorism-related charges.

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Karen Greenberg Discusses the Attempted Car Bombing in Times Square

Karen J. Greenberg was on the Brian Lehrer Show this  morning to discuss Saturday’s bomb attempt. Listen here.


Obama’s Remainees

The following is an excerpt from Karen J. Greenberg’s “Obama’s Remainees: Will Not One But Two Guantanamos Define the American Future?” The full piece is available at, where it ran yesterday evening.

A jail holding uncharged and untried remainees for the foreseeable future — or even a remainee who has been tried and acquitted — will indeed be “Gitmo,” whatever it’s official name and whatever happens to the prison in Cuba. In July 2009, in fact, the strikingly un-American idea of a presidentially imposed post-acquittal detention was first suggested by Jeh Johnson, the current General Counsel for the Department of Defense, as one possible fate for a dangerous detainee whom a deluded jury (or a jury deprived of torture-induced confessions) might free.  In this scenario, such a remainee, like those never brought to trial, would potentially remain under lock and key until the end of hostilities in the “long war,” itself imagined as at least a generational affair.

In other words, what’s being proposed is the moving of a (renamed) Guantanamo, body and soul, to the United States.  That’s already a dismal prospect, but hardly the end of the line when it comes to post-Guantanamo thinking for this administration.  In fact, a new idea has emerged recently.  Last month, according to the Los Angeles Times, the White House hinted that the administration was contemplating using the already existing prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan as yet another replacement for Guantanamo — apparently for housing future prisoners in what is no longer officially termed the Global War on Terror.

Were this to happen, it would be a squaring of the circle, a strange return to the origins of it all.


Welcome to the United States

by Karen J. Greenberg

Last Thursday night, Tariq Ramadan spoke at the Cooper Union. It was his first appearance in the United States since he was banned from the country six years ago. As a symbolic gesture of their vigilance against those they deemed terrorists (in this case allegedly for contributions to a charity that supported Hamas), the Bush administration had banned Professor Ramadan – who was raised in Switzerland and has Swiss citizenship – from coming to the United States. Last year, responding to a suit filed by the ACLU on Mr. Ramadan’s behalf, Hillary Clinton revoked the ban.

The evening began, understandably, on a celebratory note. Slate magazine – along with the ACLU, the PEN American Center, and the American Association of University Professors, organizations whose mission includes the protection of free speech and the latter two of which were co-plaintiffs in the ACLU’s suit to overturn the ban – welcomed Mr. Ramadan to the United States and acknowledged the triumph that his return signified. Ostensibly, this was a sign of America’s return to a more sane and rational, less fear-mongering era.

For Mr. Ramadan, in his signature elegant suit and his compelling French accent, the evening was a chance to talk about the predicament of “millions of Western Muslims” who, to his mind, have to be accepted as both loyal to the state and deeply religious. He pointed out time and time again in his brief 15 minutes or so that Muslim citizens in Western countries “speak the language of the country,” literally and metaphorically. “We all have multiple identities,” he said. “I’m a Swiss by citizenship, Muslim by religion, and Egyptian by background.” Speaking, it seemed, to non-Muslims – a curious fact since many of those in the audience may well have been Muslims – he called for “humility, respect, and consistency,” and insisted that a dialogue among Muslims about their scared texts would be the best way to lead the religion towards a future that could accommodate women as leaders, accept homosexuality if not agree with it, and remain an important part of life. Repeatedly, he made the claim that secularism was not a necessary ingredient of civic loyalty.

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A Sad State of Affairs

by Karen J. Greenberg

Last week, the Department of Justice released a list of terrorism convictions in federal counts since September 11, 2001.  The Department’s National Security Division deserves praise for issuing this comprehensive list, rather than cherry-picking cases. This is a substantial step towards greater transparency. But coming as it does in the midst of an intense public debate over whether or not the federal courts can or should be used to try the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other “high-value detainees” held at Guantanamo Bay, this list is also a governmental salve in the national debate.

Ironically, this latest list resembles the three reports produced by the Bush administration. While both administrations are determined to show how tough they can be against suspected terrorists, the reality is that these statistics have been turned into a political football for opponents of civilian courts — many of them vociferous supporters of similar Bush administration policies — to insist that no matter how tough civilian courts are, and no matter how weak the record of military commissions, there are no known and seasoned courts able to carry out these prosecutions effectively. Why? Because, however implausible, there is always a chance of acquittal.

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