KSM’s NYC show trial and how AQ will be paying close attention
John Yoo, a former Bush admin Justice Department official, writes a powerful piece in today’s Wall Street Journal about how the NYC trial of 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will provide a wealth of intelligence for our Islamofascist enemies (via Andy McCarthy):
Now, however, KSM and his co-defendants will enjoy the benefits and rights that the Constitution accords to citizens and resident aliens—including the right to demand that the government produce in open court all of the information that it has on them, and how it got it.
Prosecutors will be forced to reveal U.S. intelligence on KSM, the methods and sources for acquiring its information, and his relationships to fellow al Qaeda operatives. The information will enable al Qaeda to drop plans and personnel whose cover is blown. It will enable it to detect our means of intelligence-gathering, and to push forward into areas we know nothing about.
This is not hypothetical, as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has explained. During the 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (aka the “blind Sheikh”), standard criminal trial rules required the government to turn over to the defendants a list of 200 possible co-conspirators.
In essence, this list was a sketch of American intelligence on al Qaeda. According to Mr. McCarthy, who tried the case, it was delivered to bin Laden in Sudan on a silver platter within days of its production as a court exhibit.
Bin Laden, who was on the list, could immediately see who was compromised. He also could start figuring out how American intelligence had learned its information and anticipate what our future moves were likely to be.
Even more harmful to our national security will be the effect a civilian trial of KSM will have on the future conduct of intelligence officers and military personnel. Will they have to read al Qaeda terrorists their Miranda rights? Will they have to secure the “crime scene” under battlefield conditions? Will they have to take statements from nearby “witnesses”? Will they have to gather evidence and secure its chain of custody for transport all the way back to New York? All of this while intelligence officers and soldiers operate in a war zone, trying to stay alive, and working to complete their mission and get out without casualties.
The Obama administration has rejected the tool designed to solve this tension between civilian trials and the demands of intelligence and military operations. In 2001, President George W. Bush established military commissions, which have a long history that includes World War II, the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. The lawyers in the Bush administration—I was one—understood that military commissions could guarantee a fair trial while protecting national security secrets from excessive exposure.
The Supreme Court has upheld the use of commissions for war crimes. The procedures for these commissions received the approval of Congress in 2006 and 2009.
Yoo, author of the alleged “torture memos“, is one former Bush administration official that the left outright hates to the point that they’ve tried to get him disbarred from practicing law, and have harassed him in front of his home – in addition to trying to have him prosecuted for alleged “war crimes.”
No matter whether or not you agree or disagree with what was written in the so-called “torture” memos, Yoo is absolutely right here. This trial will mainly benefit KSM and other Islamofascist thugs just like him, not the US. And on top of everything else, it’s like a slap in the face – especially considering that the trial will take place in the very iconic city where the first brutal terror attacks on our soil took place on 9-11-01.
Yoo doesn’t address what he believes are the reasons behind the decision to have KSM tried in a civilian court, but I suspect that – in addition to the naive and wrongheaded belief by the WH that showing the more radical Islamic countries around the world how “fairly” we can treat our enemies in civilian court will “inspire” them to do the same in turn – this is also a way for the administration to put President Bush’s counterterrorism policies on trial as well, something the far left has demanded he do from day one. This way, the administration can kill two birds with one stone. They can attempt to please the legal elites on their side who still bullheadedly and wrongly believe that fighting terrorism is primarily a law enforcement issue while also at the very least placate the far left pundits and high profile liberal bloggers who believe the Bush administation should be tried for war crimes. IOW, this trial sounds like little more than a political tactic – and one that very well may backfire next year.
As they say, stay tuned.