BUSH ADMITS TO SECRET TERROR PRISONS by Roxanne Ecobales09/06/06
Five days before the 5th year anniversary of 9/11, today in a speech President Bush responded to Supreme Court ruling that military tribunals for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were illegal. And in doing so, the president admitted that the CIA has used secret prisons to hold those prisoners with significant knowledge of terrorist activity. (roll tape Bush 1 o.q. â€œprosecuted for terrorist actsâ€?
Stirring up memories of the September 11th attacks and with families of 9/11 victims in the audience, Bush drove home the message that America and its allies are at war. He said intelligence gathered from the secret prisons helped stop attacks in the US and in the UK. The president gave examples of intelligence gained from CIA interrogations that led to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who allegedly masterminded the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Sheikh Mohammed is one of 14 top terrorist suspects that will be transferred from CIA to military custody and sent to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Once at Gitmo, they will be protected by the Geneva Convention.
In June the Supreme Court ruled that military tribunals, or commissions, that tried prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were illegal. Today, Bush announced that he will introduce legislation into Congress to authorize these military commissions. (roll tape o.q. â€œpeople to justiceâ€?)
Bush said authorizing the tribunals should be the top priority of the US Congress in the remaining weeks of the current session.
And the president will ask Congress to also pass laws that protect soldiers, interrogators and intelligence personnel from being charged with war crimes. (roll tape o.q. â€œour personnel in courtsâ€?)
Presidentâ€™s Bushâ€™s speech comes on the same day that the Pentagon issued a new rules on how detainees should be treated.