The Washington Post reports that Obama has decided not to put 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed on trial in New York City. The pressure has been mounting for reversal of this boneheaded decision to treat enemy combatants as no different than domestic criminals. It’s still not clear whether this decision is to try terrorists in military tribunals or to merely try them as criminals somewhere other than New York.
Moving the trial in the wake of political objections would not augur well for the administration’s plans to bring other leading Guantanamo Bay detainees to other federal jurisdictions. Administration officials have said they plan to put about 35 Guantanamo detainees on trial, either in federal court or in military commissions.
Republicans and a number of Democrats in Congress have demanded that the detainees be tried in a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, arguing that they are enemy combatants in a war with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, not criminals deserving of the protections of civilian court.
But the decision to bring Mohammed and his cohorts onto U.S. soil for a civilian trial is a linchpin of Holder’s tenure, and an administration official said the Justice Department would not back down on the central principle of trying the men in federal court and inside the United States.
When KSM was first moved from Guantanamo to New York I understood that he had already defiantly said he wanted to plead guilty in a military tribunal at Gitmo. The decision to put him on trial in NYC was especially bad because in a civilian trial his lawyers would be entitled to gain access to all sorts of classified information that is vital to fighting the war on terror. It would then become public and potential terrorists would get it and adjust their planned acts of terrorism, thus frustrating our military operations to stop them. In a military tribunal the procedures are much different. While his military counsel can get the information to use in the military tribunal in order to defend the accused terrorist, the information is not given directly to the terrorist and remains classified and protected so that it does not become public and jeopardize future operations to stop terrorists before they can carry out their terrorist acts.
If KSM had been left in Gitmo to face a military tribunal there is a good chance by now that he would have been put up against a wall and shot, which is what should happen.
The left now has several reasons to go nuts. In addition to this latest KSM development, there is this:
and on the same, see:
The left had so hoped to use the KSM trial to pursue their witch hunt of Bush lawyers.