The top Pentagon prosecutor in President George W. Bush’s troubled “war on terror” is leaving is post immediately. Sources say she is “fed up” with the administration’s continued attempts to ignore the law and the tenants of the Geneva Convention in his abuse of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay
prison in Cuba.
Col. Morris D. Davis, a highly respected Air Force prosecutor, is leaving his position immediately.
Pentagon insiders say Davis’ abrupt departure is another example of the internal discord that Bush’s bungled war on terror has brought to the military.
Both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have reported Davis’ resignation.
Reports William Glaberson of The Times:
The Pentagon’s system of prosecuting suspects has been beset by practical problems and legal disputes that have reached the Supreme Court. As a result, more than five years after the first terror suspects arrived at Guantánamo Bay, only one detainee’s war-crimes case has been completed, and that was through a plea agreement.
Prosecutors have said they might eventually file charges against as many as 80 of the 330 detainees being held at Guantánamo. Those include so-called high value detainees, 14 men the administration has said include dangerous terrorists who had previously been held in secret C.I.A. prisons.
Officials have said the prosecutors are working on charges against some of those men, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has said he was the mastermind of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Colonel Davis, a career military lawyer, had been in a bitter dispute with Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, who was appointed this summer to a top post in the Pentagon Office of Military Commissions, which supervises the war crimes trial system.
General Hartmann, an Air Force reserve officer who worked as a corporate lawyer until recently, was appointed this summer as the legal adviser to Susan J. Crawford, a former military appeals judge who is the convening authority, a military official who has extensive powers under the military commission law passed by Congress in 2006.
Among other powers, under the law, the convening authority can approve or reject war-crimes charges, make plea deals with detainees and reduce sentences.
People involved in the prosecutions, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have said that General Hartmann challenged Colonel Davis’s authority in August and pressed the prosecutors who worked for Colonel Davis to produce new charges against detainees quickly.
They said he also pushed the prosecutors to frame cases with bold terrorism accusations that would draw public attention to the military commission process, which has been one of the central legal strategies of the Bush administration. In some cases the prosecutors are expected to seek the death penalty.