No word yet from the Cheneys. They must be brewing something sweet.
Speaking at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, Mukasey described the move, as “a decision I consider not only unwise, but based on a refusal to face the fact that what we are involved with here is a war with people who follow a religiously-based ideology that calls on them to kill us, and to return instead to the mindset that prevailed before Sept. 11 that acts like the first World Trade Center bombing, the attacks on our embassies in Africa and other such acts can and should be treated as conventional crimes and tried in conventional courts.”
Describing a pattern of decisions made since the the Obama administration pledged in January to close Guantanamo Bay prison within a year, Mukasey said that, “What’s followed has seemed in many instances to be a system in which policy is fashioned to fit and proceed rhetoric rather than being thought out in advance with arguments then formulated in support of it.”…
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.
Much more at the link. The problem with starting late in the day when a big story’s already broken is that the best rants have already been written and the best points have already been made, so let me just ask this: Given the fact that there’s zero chance of KSM going free, what’s the point of having a trial?
The political calculation here, I assume, is that Mohammed’s virtually certain to be convicted; even a jury of bleeding-heart Manhattanites isn’t likely to spring the guy who’s been known as the mastermind of 9/11 for upwards of a decade, especially with the courthouse a five-minute walk from Ground Zero. So The One figures that, even if all the tainted evidence is thrown out, he’ll still get a conviction and then he can crow about having been right all along about prosecuting terrorists in civilian courts. But assuming that 1,000 to 1 shot of an acquittal comes through, what then? There’s no earthly way Obama would let him go. He’d be finished politically, as would the Democrats for the foreseeable future, and no Democratic president would be trusted again on national security for the next 50 years. The “blame Bush” gambit wouldn’t work either: Try as the left might to claim that it’s all Dubya’s fault for having obtained tainted evidence under duress, the hard fact of the matter is that we had this turd locked away at Gitmo and Obama let him go.
So he can’t let him go, but then what are his other options? Defying the verdict outright and insisting on re-imprisoning KSM regardless is a non-starter, as it would not only provoke a constitutional crisis but reveal what a sham the whole process was all along. Presumably they’d either come up with some pretext to send him back to jail (e.g., “Um, there’s another crime we think he committed so we’re going to try him for that … eventually”) or they’d extradite him somewhere where he’s wanted for terrorism. One possibility: Pakistan, where he’s been implicated, via both his own confession and video evidence, in the murder of Daniel Pearl. The Pakistanis wouldn’t want the headache of trying him, but they’re already in for a penny with their military assault on the Taliban so they might as well be in for a pound with KSM. Besides, we have plenty of leverage over them in the form of civil and military aid. If The One needs them to bail him out by making this guy go away for good, he has strings he can pull.
The real worry isn’t that KSM will go free it’s that some of his lesser-known cohorts, to whom the public might be willing the give the benefit of doubt, might. I can only assume Obama and Holder have got plenty of non-tainted evidence against the whole crew, because the risks here — of terrorists targeting NYC during the trial, of KSM and company turning it into a soapbox to rail against America — are tremendous.