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Obama administration retreats (again) on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed civilian trial; Holder blames Congress

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 4, 2011 11:50 AM

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Buzz out of Washington this morning is that the Obama administration has signaled it will end efforts to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian trial and instead will use the Gitmo military tribunal system pursued by, yes, George W. Bush.

AG Eric Holder is reportedly holding a 2pm Eastern press conference.

Here’s a blurb from CBS:

Attorney General Eric Holder today will announce that self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad will be tried in a military commission, CBS News has learned. A source says the commission will be held at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Trying Mohammed in a civilian court and closing the Guantanamo prison were once some of the Obama administration’s top priorities, but political realities have hamstrung both goals.

Holder previously recommended that Mohammed and four other alleged Sept. 11 plotters be tried in New York City, but he scrapped that plan in the wake of public consternation.

Not just “political realities.”

Homeland security realities.

Public safety realities.

Intelligence realities.

Wartime realities.

Reality realities.

Reality bites. Sanity wins. For now.

Flashback to November 2009, when Obama/AG Holder embarked on their futile mission to treat Mohammed like your common domestic criminal.

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 this:

The five men facing trial in the Sept. 11 attacks will plead not guilty so that they can air their criticisms of U.S. foreign policy, the lawyer for one of the defendants said Sunday. Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but “would explain what happened and why they did it.”

The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this month that Ali and four other men accused of murdering nearly 3,000 people in the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. will face a civilian federal trial just blocks from the site of the destroyed World Trade Center. Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi, is a nephew of professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mohammed, Ali and the others will explain “their assessment of American foreign policy,” Fenstermaker said.

“Their assessment is negative,” he said.

Chalk up another “Emily ‘Never Mind’ Litella” Moment for feckless Team Obama:

***
Not coincidentally, Obama’s national security ratings have fallen to a new low.

Twitter users are having a field day with #Obama2012slogans. The latest in response to the Khalid retreat:

“Next Time I Really Am Closing Gitmo.”

Jan. 22, 2009 Obama’s executive order on closing Gitmo.

**

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.

Previous Obama Gitmo retreat/trial posts…

11/17/2010 The DoJ’s Civil Trial Balloon Pops; Update: Bush’s Fault, of Course

3/4/2010 National security flip-flop: Obama to retreat on KSM/Gitmo detainee civilian trials…for now

1/28/2010 Retreat: White House plays jihadi musical chairs

***

2:10pm Eastern AG Holder press conference. He says he embarked on shutting down Gitmo and forcing civilian trials with an “open mind.”

Pretends to speak for the 9/11 families — who raised their voices most loudly against KSM trial in New York City.

Says the Bush-era military tribunals will be fair and just, after all…

Whines about congressional restrictions based on national security/public safety concerns.

Still intends to close Gitmo.

Whines about critics trying to “score political points.”

Whines about “needless” debate.

Peppered with questions about his contradictory views on military tribunals and his condescension towards Americans who criticized civilian trial plans, a testy Holder cuts and runs.

Eric Holder: Honorary Fleebagger of the Day.

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Categories: Ally McBeal approach, Gitmo, Homeland Security, Islam, Torture

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