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O'Neill on Fox 5: DC Eyed for GITMO Detainee Trial

Professor Michael O'Neill appeared as a guest of Fox 5 morning news co-anchor Steve Chenevey in a January 19 segment in which O'Neill offered analysis of some of the issues presented by the Obama Administration's proposal to try a notorious terror detainee in the nation's capital.

At issue is the possibility that Bin Laden lieutenant Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali, might be moved from his current detention site in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to stand trial in Washington, D.C. Critics argue that a trial in that venue poses danger to the city's citizens, risks compromise of U.S. intelligence methods, and provides the opportunity for terrorists to use the trial as a bullhorn for their views. In addition, a trial through the military commission process allows greater relaxation of the rules of evidence and allows prisoners lesser rights.

O'Neill reminded viewers of the necessity of a trial under the nation's rule of law. He pointed out that cities with large populations generally are good at handling security for significant events and that holding such trials in those locations offers the advantage of providing symbolic significance as justice is served. Despite those things, he conceded that the trial might pose greater risk to the population and significant cost to the jurisdictions involved.

O'Neill also said that while there is a legitimate threat that more information than desired might be divulged through a trial, there are ways for prosecutors to protect sensitive matters. Likewise, he said while terrorists might gain a forum of sorts, U.S. institutions should be strong enough to handle any fallout.

In closing, O'Neill offered a reminder that presidents must respond to circumstances in a method appropriate to the time in which they live.