After former Pres. Bush admitted he sanctioned torture, we now see the results of his policy on detainees. It’s kind of staring Pres. Obama in the face, as is the reality of what happen when terrorists are acquitted in civilian trial, but his policy demands they not be released.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was acquitted of all but one of 280 charges brought against him for the 1998 bombings of United States Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The case has been seen as a test of President Obama’s goal of trying detainees in federal court whenever feasible, and the result seems certain to fuel debate over whether civilian courts are appropriate for trying terrorists. …

Because of the unusual circumstances of Mr. Ghailani’s case – after he was captured in Pakistan in 2004, he was held for nearly five years in a so-called black site run by the Central Intelligence Agency and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba – the prosecution faced significant legal hurdles even getting his case to trial.

On the eve of Mr. Ghailani’s trial last month, the government lost a key ruling that may have seriously damaged its chances of winning convictions.

In the ruling, the judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of Federal District Court in Manhattan, barred prosecutors from using an important witness against Mr. Ghailani because the government had learned about the man through Mr. Ghailani’s interrogation while he was in C.I.A. custody, where his lawyers say he was tortured.

As Glenn Greenwald rightly points out, with only one charge being sustained, because of Pres. Obama’s “post-acquittal detention power,” Ghailani can still be held for the rest of his life in prison.

A.G. Holder’s pronouncement that “failure is not an option” wafts over the trial, especially thinking about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and whether to try him in civilian court. The notion of “justice” for anyone forever modified when you consider that no matter the verdict the U.S. Justice System will never let him go.