Mitchell Reports | March 08, 2013
>>> a manhattan courtroom today holds osama bin laden 's son-in-law abu graith pleaded not guilty. a number of republican lawmakers say the decision to try him on u.s. soil is a mistake. here's the aforementioned mike rogers .
>> i think a trial on american soil could be a difficult thing for any al qaeda member that they might be considering bringing back from overseas. we have a facility. it is with the best trained guard force that not only has to protect people from the inside getting out, but from the outside getting in. which a lot of american prisons are not quite used to. and they're very well equipped to handle special needs prisoners, high threat prisoners the way that some senior al qaeda member might be, and we have a way to provide trial and counsel and all of those things. now, it's at gitmo. it's guantanamo bay . really if you think about it, that makes the most logical sense, and we've invested a lot of u.s. taxpayer dollars getting that facility right and in the right positioning to handle exactly that kind of high risk , high threat al qaeda prisoner.
>> nbc justice correspondent pete williams has been tracking all this and joins me here. pete, we've had manhattan courtrooms handle these terror suspects before. the blind sheik comes to mind. what now for abu ghaith.
>> he will be back in a month when the judge will decide on a trial date, but, you know, getting to this question about whether he should have been treated as an enmachine combatant and taken to guantanamo bay or whether he should be in civilian court, what the republicans that have been critical of this have been saying is if he had been taken to gitmo, he could be exploited more for intelligence purposes. well, there was a tantalizing statement today by one of the prosecutors in court who said that after he was taken into custody, he talked extensively to the u.s., and they now have a 22-page statement of him, so that the suggestion is they've gotten a lot of out of him. i've been told that this was after he was picked up in jordan and on his way here and got to new york. he was questioned extensively. he was given his miranda warning , i'm told, and even after that he continued to talk, so this is a little pushback, i think, from the government saying, look, even though we're putting him in this civilian court, we've still gotten a lot out of him.
>> and the way he was "captured" is interesting because you had the chairman -- the house chairman of the homeland security committee yesterday praising the fbi and cia for bringing him to the states, and we know from other sources that this involved turkey, a transfer en route to kuwait, his home country, stop in amman jordan , or somewhere in jordan at a military base , and mysteriously got into american hands. you know what happened there. was probably put on a gulfstream military plane.
>> extensively choreographed. the fact is, as you know, he had been at bin laden 's side in the days after 9/11, and then as the sort of al qaeda deaspira -- as i use that word, probably ill advised, some al qaeda members showed nup iran . it appears they were in some kind of custody. that's one of the things he can shed some light on here is what happened to those people in iran .
>> including one of osama bin laden 's sons was allegedly in iran for a number of years.
>> right. but the suggestion i've been getting today is that he really has no operational knowledge about al qaeda anymore. he has been out of it for so long, but he has interesting things to say about the sort of history and what was going on during all these intervening years.
>> briefly there was a tsa sting, as it were, an inspector who discovered that he could smuggle an ied in newark.
>> i don't know all the details about this, but the broad brush is that tsa does these things where they basically run their own people through the screening process to see if they can smuggle things through. one inspector did get through with a fake improvised bomb consealed in his clothing. he wasn't found when he went through the magnotometer, and now they're trying to find out how that happened.
>> if that means we have to undress even more in the future, look at what happened just because of the shoe bomber.
>> i think it won't.
>> thank you very much.
>> for all things related to the terror suspect.