Monday, April 4, 2011

KSM headed back to military commission

CBS News is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder will announce later today that self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad will be tried in a military commission.  The military commission for the alleged 9/11 terrorist, as well as his four co-defendants, was stopped shortly after Obama came to office.  Trying KSM in a civilian court was once a top priority for the Obama administration.  In November 2009, Holder announced that the five 9/11 plotters would be tried in New York City, but he scrapped that plan in the wake of consternation.  


Holder issued the statement this afternoon.  You can read the transcript here.  In the statement Holder defends his earlier decision to send the case to federal civilian court and he stands by that decision.  But goes on to say:
Unfortunately, since I made that decision, Members of Congress have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States, regardless of the venue. As the President has said, those unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security. Decisions about who, where and how to prosecute have always been – and must remain – the responsibility of the executive branch. Members of Congress simply do not have access to the evidence and other information necessary to make prosecution judgments. Yet they have taken one of the nation’s most tested counterterrorism tools off the table and tied our hands in a way that could have serious ramifications. We will continue to seek to repeal those restrictions.
But we must face a simple truth: those restrictions are unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future. And we simply cannot allow a trial to be delayed any longer for the victims of the 9/11 attacks or for their family members who have waited for nearly a decade for justice. I have talked to these family members on many occasions over the last two years. Like many Americans, they differ on where the 9/11 conspirators should be prosecuted, but there is one thing on which they all agree: We must bring the conspirators to justice.