Attorney General Defends Civilian Trial for 9/11 Mastermind

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Attorney General Eric Holder told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in New York was a tough call and that, in his view, the government is more likely to successfully prosecute Mohammed in a federal or so-called 'Article III' court than in a military commission.

In response to the concerns of Senators on both sides of the issue, Holder argued that the rules governing classified evidence in federal courts will not allow sensitive information to land in the hands of terrorists. He also said Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will have no more of a platform for his ideas in federal court than he would in a military commission.  The media covers both.

"I'm not scared of what Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has to say at trial.  And no one else needs to be afraid either," Holder said.

When Senator Charles Schumer brought up the most practical matter for New Yorkers -- the more than $75 million police estimate they'll spend on security -- Holder assured the senator he would recommend the federal government share the financial burden.

The full hearing can be seen here.


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Comments [5]

Carol Stewart

Please read, " The 9/11 Report" and "Without Precedent," the Inside story of , "The 9/11 Commission," co-authored by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton. It was the families that wanted answers and should be commended for getting us involved with our own future security. Emotions don't count , facts, accountability and transparency do. We must revisit that day if we want to know how we are to be given a secure future without knowing what countries helped fund, and allowed passage over borders. Are we safe look at Katrina and Wall Street,s treason? If the 9/11 families could fight for us, then its time we push to help ourselves and follow through on 9/11 here, there and everywhere.

Nov. 22 2009 11:17 AM

Holder says he isn't afraid to try this guy? What a ridiculous comment. The prisoner is in chains, heavily guarded. This isn't going to be a gladiator contest at Yankee Stadium. It's a show trial held after this man has been subjected to years of torture and presumably is incapable of participating in his own defense.

Beyond that, Holder certainly backed down from trying the Aipac spies, let them take a walk. Was he "afraid" of them? He's refused to investigate or prosecute the war criminals from the Bush administration, and refused to investigate and prosecute the criminals from Wall Street who busted the world's economy, and the politicians who helped them do it. Holder's record to date is a disgrace.

Of course this man is entitled to a trial. He was entitled to one years ago, before his imprisonment, before the torture. He's probably insane, so at this point it's just a silly show, to prove to the world we're a "real" democracy. It should not be in New York, scene of a horrible crime, because the residents are undoubtedly incapable of being fair and unbiased in hearing the case.

Beyond that, of more importance, the U.S. government has kidnapped, tortured and murdered completely innocent citizens from around the world, and every time one of them or their survivors goes to a U.S. court and asks for the right to have their claims heard, the government argues that it would not be possible to have a trial without revealing top secret or confidential information. What is sauce for the goose ....

If the government can try this man in court, then it also should be subject to being brought before the courts of this nation by the victims of U.S. criminal conduct. You can't have it both ways.

Nov. 20 2009 12:55 PM

I feel safer that KSM is being tried in a regular federal court. If even someone as he is afforded the protections of our Constitutional system of law, how much more so can I be assured that should I, an ordinary citizen, be accused of a crime (perhaps in error) that I will receive those protections?

Nov. 19 2009 11:56 AM
Jean May

It is appalling and unacceptable that New York must be subjected to the horrendous expense, the interruption of everyday life, the danger of trying KSM in our city where other terrorists will surely want to make a statement in support of him. Who can possibly be an unprejudiced juror, so what are we proving about the fairness of a jury trial? Holder has guaranteed that KSM will be found guilty and given the death sentence. What a farce - all at the expense of New Yorkers who are still traumatized by 9/11.

Nov. 19 2009 09:03 AM
Ron Raphael

I feel that K.S.M. should be tried by a federal, civilian court. A military trial has not proved to be very successful (unless, of course, you consider over 120 bouts with water boarding and about 8 years in Gitmo a success). We, the people, have a constitution that we believe gives justice for all. If we don't hold to that system of justice, we are being hypocritical, which only gives credence to the claims of Al Quaida.

As far as giving KSM a talking point for being a martyr, have we not already given him just what he is asking?

Nov. 18 2009 07:23 PM

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