The Justice Department will significantly expand its role in global counterterrorism operations as part of a sharp U.S. policy turnabout, in which a system based primarily on clandestine detentions and interrogations will be replaced by one emphasizing transparent investigations and prosecutions of terrorism suspects, says the Chicago Tribune. The effort includes an initiative called “Global Justice.” FBI agents would participate more centrally in overseas counterterrorism cases, questioning suspects and gathering evidence to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option wherever possible.
The initiative has been in the works for several months. Some counterterrorism officials and Obama administration policymakers envision it as a centerpiece of the much broader national security framework laid out by the president last week that emphasizes the rule of law, or the principle that even accused terrorists have the right to contest the charges against them in some kind of criminal justice setting. The new approach effectively reverses the thrust of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism, in which global counterterrorism was treated primarily as an intelligence and military problem and not a law-enforcement one.