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Archive for Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Official: Detainee trials could limit other cases

June 24, 2009

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— A top New York anti-terror official said Tuesday that trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees could weaken the ability of the FBI and other agencies to chase new cases.

Richard Falkenrath, a New York Police Department official who was a homeland security expert in the Bush administration, said high-profile terrorism trials in the U.S. could reduce the number of agents available to pursue new investigations.

Recently, the Justice Department brought suspect Ahmed Ghailani from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to New York to face trial for al-Qaida attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa. Falkenrath said that kind of decision “is raising a lot of very difficult issues for investigators who now find themselves required to support these prosecutions.”

Typically, one or more FBI agents will be assigned to help prosecutors at trial, and in a large, complex terror case like Ghailani’s, there can be months of additional work for many agents in and outside of a courtroom.

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