What could go wrong?

November 14, 2009

The big news yesterday was the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the confessed, proud mastermind of the 9-11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 of our people and foreign guests, would be tried in a civilian court in New York City, just blocks from Ground Zero:

The Obama administration said Friday that it would prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a decision that ignited a sharp political debate but took a step toward resolving one of the most pressing terrorism detention issues.

The decision, announced by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., could mean one of the highest-profile and highest-security terrorism trials in history would be set just blocks from where hijackers for Al Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Mr. Holder said he would instruct prosecutors to seek death sentences for Mr. Mohammed and four accused Sept. 11 co-conspirators who would be tried alongside him.

I can’t decide if this is some sort of continuation of Holder and his boss’s war against the Bush Administration and the CIA, monumental stupidity and incompetence on their part, or both. Do these two geniuses realize that trying KSM and his buddies in Manhattan invites every jihadi in the world to strike the city again, either to rescue them or avenge them? Do they comprehend what a circus and a farce this will become? This is the ultimate act of reverting to a pre-9/11 mentality, which for the length of the 90s assured us that law enforcement was the proper venue for handling terrorists.

And we saw what that bought us.

This is depressing and disturbing on so many levels, I can’t even work up a good rant. Others however, had plenty to say. Let’s start with my hero of that terrible day and first choice for President in 2008, Rudy Giuliani:

Part 1

Part 2

Let me repeat Hizzoner’s trenchant observation: the decision to try KSM in New York is “frighteningly incompetent.”

Michael Mukasey was George W. Bush’s last Attorney General and had been the presiding judge at the trial of the Islamic terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. If anyone should know why the civilian court system is not competent to handle cases of jihadist terrorism, it is he:

The difficulty of trying terror suspects through civilian courts, he said, is that the discovery process, the public presentation of evidence, and other elements of a trial “could turn a criminal proceeding into a cornucopia of information for those still at large and a circus for those in custody.”

He pointed out that when capturing the enemy combatants, pieces of information “were not gathered, nor was evidence gathered, on the assumption that they would be presented in a federal court.”

There would also be tremendous security issues involved with making sure that courthouses, jails, the judge and jury, were all safe.

“It would take a whole lot more credulousness than I have available to be optimistic about the outcome of this latest experiment,” Mukasey said at the conclusion of his formal remarks.

Somehow, I think Judge Mukasey was understating his misgivings. (via Hot Air)

Finally, former Governor Sarah Palin weighed in on her Facebook page, calling it an “atrocious decision:”

It is crucially important that Americans be made aware that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks may walk away from this trial without receiving just punishment because of a “hung jury” or from any variety of court room technicalities. If we are stuck with this terrible Obama Administration decision, I, like most Americans, hope that Mohammed and his co-conspirators are convicted. Hang ‘em high.

I’m with ya, Governor.

LINKS: Fausta calls it a suicidal move. Jimmy Bise wonders if Obama is committing political suicide. Baseball Crank, a Manhattan attorney, is seeing red. The Weekly Standard explains why this is a very risky proposition for the Democrats. Connecticut’s lone honorable Senator politely told Attorney General Holder and President Obama to think again. Debra Burlingame, via William Kristol, reminds us of what Khalid Sheikh Muhammad said when he was captured.