Decision to Try KSM in Civilian Court is 'Asinine' and Has Terrorists ‘Laughing At Us,' Says Republican Member of Judiciary Committee
November 18, 2009 - 6:38 PMRep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told CNSNews.com that the Obama administration's decision to prosecute 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in civilian court is an "asinine approach" for which terrorists "the world over" are "laughing" at the United States.
The Obama administration recently announced that Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, unlike Mohammad, would be tried in a military tribunal for his role in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, in which 17 American soldiers died.
CNSNews.com asked Franks, “If the U.S.S. Cole alleged attacker, Nashiri, is able to get a fair trial in a military commission, why do you think the Obama administration would not, or has not, done the same thing with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad?”
“Well, I think they made a terrible mistake in not doing exactly that,” said Franks. “I think that Khalid Sheikh Mohammad should be tried in a military tribunal.
“I think it’s a terrible mistake to bring him into New York and to try him in this country as we would a common criminal, in the same architecture as our federal court system under the Constitution, because all of a sudden that completely changes the whole make-up of the focus,” Franks added.
Franks, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, said this decision could create incentives for terrorism on U.S. soil.
“I think that it’ll--could ‘incent’ terrorism here,” he said, “and to try to bring all of the constitutional rights that we give to citizens to terrorists on the battlefield could mean that someday or own soldiers might be in a position of having to go up and say here are your Miranda rights before we engage in the battle.
“It’s just an asinine approach, and I really believe terrorists the world over are laughing at us and glad that we are doing exactly this, because they know that our court system, you know, has some loopholes that they can try to jump through, and I’m just very, very concerned,” said Franks.
“It may be that Kalid Sheik Mohammed can get a fair trial, but the Americans in this country are not going to get a very fair trial if he comes here,” he added.
In response to the same question, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on Tuesday that it would be possible for Mohammad to get a fair trial in a military tribunal like Nashiri, but he agrees with three conservatives who in a letter expressed their support for the decision to try Mohammad in civilian court.
“I think that probably would be possible,” Hoyer told CNSNews.com on Tuesday. “Again, let me reference – with which I happen to agree – Barr, Norquist, and Keene, very conservative observers who believe in this case, Holder has made the right decision.”
Bob Barr is a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate. Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform, and David Keene is chairman of the American Conservative Union.
“I don’t disagree with his [Holder’s] decision in the other [Nashiri] case,” said Hoyer. “I think the military commission, particularly as it has been changed and revised by the Obama administration, can in fact in that case act appropriately.”