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Bombshell: Obama bringing KSM to NYC for trial; former Bush AG Mukasey responds: “High risk of attack”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 13, 2009 09:04 AM

It’s Friday. The president is flying off to Asia. Congress is not in session. Perfect time to drop a bombshell on the American people:

The Obama administration is bringing 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed to New York City for a civilian trial.

No, it’s not a joke. Via the NYT:

Self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees will be sent to New York to face trial in a civilian federal court, an Obama administration official said Friday.

The official said Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce the decision later in the morning.

The official is not authorized to discuss the decision before the announcement, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Bringing such notorious suspects to U.S. soil to face trial is a key step in President Barack Obama’s plan to close the terror suspect detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obama initially planned to close the detention center by Jan. 22, but the administration is no longer expected to meet that deadline.

It is also a major legal and political test of Obama’s overall approach to terrorism. If the case suffers legal setbacks, the administration will face second-guessing from those who never wanted it in a civilian courtroom. And if lawmakers get upset about notorious terrorists being brought to their home regions, they may fight back against other parts of Obama’s agenda.

Here is the e-mail the DOD’s Director Victim Witness Program sent out to victims, survivors, and family members of jihadi attacks this morning (via Sgt. Tim Sumner, brother-in-law of FDNY Joseph G. Leavey, 45, Ladder 15, WTC):

You are receiving this email because you have been identified as a victim, survivor, or victim family member of an Al-Qaeda attributed attack and have requested to be kept informed of events involving detainees charged in military commissions or being held in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility in connection with those attacks.

We would like to inform you that the U.S. Departments of Defense and Justice will be making an important public announcement later this morning. At 10:30 am Eastern Standard Time, the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism will post information for victims about the announcement on its password protected victims’ website. At 11:00 am the Defense and Justice Departments will issue a joint press release notifying the public of the information, and there will also be a press conference. In addition, the Defense Department will notify victims about the information by email.

Both the Defense Department (Karen Loftus) and the Justice Department (Heather Cartwright) are sending out this e-mail to ensure that as many victims as possible receive it. We apologize if you receive duplicates. If you know of other victims who may be interested in the information, please pass this on to them.

Here’s what Tim sent in response:

We have an announcement as well: we will fight with every remaining breath in our bodies both their bringing KSM and the rest of the 9/11 conspirators to federal courtrooms within walking distance of where they slaughtered our loved ones. And whomever finds Manhattan’s federal courthouse near Ground Zero a “sentimental favorite” for the 9/11 trials is a damn fool and they ALL ought to be fired. Pass that message on, far, wide, and up and down the chain-of-command.

See here for a petition to the president.

If this White House thought Tea Party activists were an “angry mob,” wait until they see the backlash from 9/11 family members and their supporters nationwide. We’re not going to sit down and shut up about the reckless, security-undermining Obama 9/10 agenda and conflict-of-interest-ridden AG Eric Holder.

Call them out.

***

I’ve written extensively over the years on the perils of civilian trials for terrorists. See here and here and here for a refresher course in the Ally McBeal
approach to terror.

Here’s a taste of what we have to look forward to:

The idea of prosecuting suspected terrorists like burglars or drug dealers seems to make sense in principle, but jury trials for War on Terror suspects are fraught with peril.

“In ordinary civilian trials, there is no significant cost to sharing everything the government knows,” notes Johns Hopkins international law professor Ruth Wedgwood. “But this does not hold against the background of Al Qaeda’s stated ambition of mounting new attacks.” Affording accused Al Qaeda operatives the Sixth Amendment right to a public trial threatens to compromise classified information necessary to prosecute future terrorist trials. Other rights guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment’s the right to subpoena witnesses and compel them to testify, the right to an attorney, can interfere with interrogations of captured suspected Al Qaeda agents. Moreover, in civilian courtrooms, prosecutors are severely restrained from closing off classified information under the existing federal Classified Information Procedure Act. Anonymous testimony and intelligence based on hearsay are often inadmissible in civilian courts. And while the lives of those immediately involved in say, a mob trial, might be endangered, the entire nation may be at risk when we allow suspected members of a terrorist network to partake in the discovery process.

The prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers in our civilian court system, though successful, demonstrated the pitfalls of prosecuting the War on Terror like an episode of the TV show “Ally McBeal” — a courtroom comedy. The trials gave the bin Laden network a multi-million-dollar, tax-subsidized defense team, free translation services, personal dry-cleaning services, and access to information that was allegedly used by Islamists to evade surveillance.

All of the convicted World Trade Center bombers received life sentences. Two had faced the death penalty, but were spared by a minority-dominated jury that swallowed the race-baiting of traitorous defense witness Ramsey Clark (the former U.S. attorney general under Lyndon Johnson). Clark testified that no member of a racial minority group — African-American, Arab or otherwise — could expect a fair trial in the U.S. He also blamed the Gulf War and U.S. sanctions on Iraq for creating the psychological “suffering” that led to the embassy attacks. On another front, convicted mastermind Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman may have exploited his right to counsel in order to establish a terrorist message center from behind bars. His lawyer, Lynne Stewart, was indicted in the fall of 2003 on charges of providing material support to terrorists and went to trial in May 2004; she is accused of aiding a plot to kidnap and kill people to help win the release of Rahman and making false statements regarding her efforts to pass messages between Rahman and third parties…

Stewart was convicted of aiding terrorists and lying to the government in 2005 — for which she received a slap on the wrist. She is still free pending appeal.

***

Andy McCarthy exposes the underlying Obama/Holder agenda. The 9/11 show trials are a payoff to the Bush-haters and transnational Left:

We are now going to have a trial that never had to happen for defendants who have no defense. And when defendants have no defense for their own actions, there is only one thing for their lawyers to do: put the government on trial in hopes of getting the jury (and the media) spun up over government errors, abuses and incompetence. That is what is going to happen in the trial of KSM et al. It will be a soapbox for al-Qaeda’s case against America. Since that will be their “defense,” the defendants will demand every bit of information they can get about interrogations, renditions, secret prisons, undercover operations targeting Muslims and mosques, etc., and — depending on what judge catches the case — they are likely to be given a lot of it. The administration will be able to claim that the judge, not the administration, is responsible for the exposure of our defense secrets. And the circus will be played out for all to see — in the middle of the war. It will provide endless fodder for the transnational Left to press its case that actions taken in America’s defense are violations of international law that must be addressed by foreign courts. And the intelligence bounty will make our enemies more efficient at killing us.

And read this timely excerpt from McCarthy’s invaluable Willful Blindness: “Bring my lawyer! — That’s what’s so beautiful about America.”

***

Update: Just heard that former Bush AG Michael Mukasey will be addressing the Federalist Society National Lawyer’s Convention today at the Mayflower in Washington, D.C. at 2:15pm today and will take on the White House decision to prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in his speech.

Update: Details on Mukasey’s speech…

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey said today that it is highly likely that terrorists will attack New York City as a consequence of the Obama administration’s decision to send five alleged Sept. 11 plotters there for trial in federal court.

During a question and answer period following a speech to a conservative legal group, Mukasey was asked about the possibility that there might be an escape by one or more prisoners.

“The [Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan] is a very secure place….Is it secure? Of course, it’s secure. They’re not going to escape,” Mukasey told a conference of the Federalist Society. “The question is not whether they’re going to escape. The question is whether, not only that particular facility, but the city [at] large, will then become the focus for mischief in the form of murder by adherents of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed–whether this raises the odds that it will. I would suggest to you that it raises them very high.”

Mukasey said the men now to be tried in New York should have been left before military commission proceedings at Guantanamo that were already in progress.

“The plan seems to be to abandon the view that we’re in a war,” Mukasey said. “I can’t see anything good coming out of this. I certainly can’t see anything good coming out of it very quickly. And it think it would have been far preferable to try these case in the venue that Congress created for trying and where they were about to be tried.”

And more thorough coverage of Mukasey’s speech from Philip Klein here.

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Categories: Ally McBeal approach, Eric Holder, Gitmo

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