‘Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell’ Injunction, 10th Anniversary of USS Cole Attack, Insinuations Against Chamber — Today’s Q’s for O’s WH – 10/12/10

By Maya

Oct 12, 2010 4:35pm

TAPPER:  I was just wondering, first of all, if you had any reaction that a federal judge has granted an injunction of "Don't ask, Don't tell"?
  
GIBBS:  I was told something about that as I walked out.  I would point you to DOJ, as I assume they will analyze the briefing. Obviously, you know the president's view on changing the law on "Don't ask, Don't tell."
 
TAPPER:  OK.  This is the 10th anniversary of the bombing of the USS Cole.  After becoming president, the president halted the prosecution of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri as you guys got your house in order as to what to do about the defendants and detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Since then, the Pentagon prosecutors have been eager to go forward with the case and they've been stopped by the interagency process.  Can you give us any update as to what's next for al-Nashiri, when that trial will go forward?
  
GIBBS:  The important — one of the most important parts of that process, as you well know, and I think you touched upon it, is — was working with a bipartisan coalition in Congress to review and reform the military commission system to ensure that that process would and should be used — could be used to bring terror suspects to justice. The attorney general referred five cases, including al- Nashiri to the Department of Defense, and is — as you said, there's an interagency process that — that is being worked through, and certainly our hope is now that we have a reformed commission system that it's a process that can start soon.
  
TAPPER:  Can you shed any light on what the holdup is?  There are obviously families who are grieving today, the 10th anniversary of the bombing — the desire for information.
  
GIBBS:  Well, I — I don't have an update on the timing. Obviously, DOD and DOJ are working through this.  Obviously, our viewpoint is that somebody who did harm to American servicemen 10 years ago will be and should be brought to justice.  That was our goal in reforming the military commission system, and I believe in this case we will see justice done.
  
TAPPER:  Lastly, as somebody — there are a lot of us here who have covered the president's campaign and now his White House, and a lot of times you guys are subject to accusations that are — that are baseless and grounded in no more than, "Well, it could be true; make them prove that it's not true." And — and that seems to be the argument you're making towards the Chamber of Commerce when it comes to these foreign donations.  It could be true.  Have them prove that it's not true.  Don't you think that the president — there should be a higher bar for when the president levels or suggests or insinuates a charge?  

GIBBS:  Well, what I would do is go back and look at what the president has said directly on this.  The president…
  
TAPPER:  He's very careful with the language, absolutely, but — but the suggestion is “It could be true; they should open their books.”
  
GIBBS:  Well, the — as we covered in this morning's briefing or gaggle that — I get asked questions and others around this town get asked questions about people that have donated to the campaigns that you mentioned that you followed because people who give in excess of $200 are required to report who they are and who they work for. Simple disclosure. We know that — we know because the chamber has said that they take money from overseas.  We do know that they're spending $75 million to $80 million on ad campaigns with anonymous donors.  They know the identities, but the American people and the voters in these individual elections do not.  The best way to clear any of this stuff up would simply be to disclose the names, the identities of those donors.
  
That goes for groups on any side of the political spectrum.  When you have in the case of this election, you have — there are outside groups on the Republican side that are largely supplanting the role of the national party. Certainly, to the extent to which they are participating as an active entity in this election.  And no one knows where that money's coming from. This is an important election.  And those groups owe it to the American people to tell us who they are, to describe, based on that identity, what their agenda is, why are they so heavily involved in these races. It — it seems like a fairly simple thing to do.  The president talked about this as early this year as the State of the Union, and we tried desperately to get a law passed that would require those identities to be disclosed.

-Jake Tapper

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