March 5th, 2010
11:06 AM ET
5 years ago

White House considers military trial for KSM

The U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay houses high value terror detainees.
The U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay houses high value terror detainees.

Washington (CNN) - White House advisers are considering recommending alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed be tried in a military court, not a civilian one in New York, a senior administration official confirmed Friday.

This would be an about face for the Obama administration which has consistently insisted trying Mohammed in civilian court would be a powerful symbol of U.S. rule of law.

In November 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder announced his intention to do just that. But a firestorm of criticism erupted from New York officials who did not want the trial held in Manhattan, and from Republican lawmakers who did not want a civilian trial.

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Filed under: Khalid Sheik Mohammed
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. JS007

    There is no way this guy could possibly walk free – the trial will be rigged until the outcome is assured. Pres. Obama, with his spinelessness, has just validated the stupid Republican talking points as well as the world's view that the US is a dumb, cowardly, corrupt country that is increasingly losing its way. Please don't ever again preach about human rights to the rest of the world.

    March 5, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. rta

    have a civilian trial at a military base. I have had it with the republicans and their fear tactics. if they wanted to do something in the past they would have. keeping people locked up for years and no trial etc .is wrong. the military tribunals have been such a success that they have let some people out who are looking to do America wrong. When did it become so popular not to believe in the American justice system? are people that cynical not to believe that we are AMERICANS that have value or do we revert back to the toxic cheney-bush tactics that has landed us in the situation we are in? I am tired of the games of the republicans, their games, their tactics, their obstructionist views, their racial biases, their fear mongering, their ineptness their criminal minds. WE HAVE VALUES and PRINCIPLES and ought to stick to them. Why let whining people derail WHAT AMERICANS ARE ALL ABOUt?

    March 5, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Pat - boston

    I hope it won't happen. It is incredible that without a majority, Republicans can still have their way! They are good at standing in 1 position and derail everything the current administration tries to do. Sad that Democrats are so divided...

    March 5, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Dick Cheney For President In 2012

    Hey Liberals,

    Have you noticed the following:

    1) Guantanamo is still open.

    2) Obama recently extended the Patriot Act.

    3) Unmanned aerial drone strikes are continuing in Afghanistan.

    4) Unmanned aerial drone strikes are continuing in Pakistan.

    5) Military tribunals are being used to try terrorists.

    6) We still have troops in Iraq.

    7) We still have troops in Afghanistan.

    And you liberals insist that the Obama Administration is different from the Bush Administration?

    The Obama Administration has become the Bush Administration (LMAO).

    March 5, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. lucy

    Of course we are all aware that the conviction rate for normal jury trials is actually higher than the conviction rate for the military trials. So I guess for the politicians, our safety is less important than their sound bites. Go figure.

    March 5, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. southerncousin

    Gee, I think that is what Bush was planning wasn't it? How is that hopey changey thing working out for the libs?

    March 5, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Perry

    People think trying the Sheik in a military court means he has less rights. That is not true. By trying him in a military court we say to the world our criminal justice system doesn't work. It that is true, why don't WE just say it, out loud, and forcefully.

    If left up to the people who want a military trial, we would do what Glenn Beck suggested, "Just shoot him in the head".

    I pray that people who don't want the rule of law, be subjected to lawlessness in their own moments of need.

    The Sheik will get what is coming to him. He has already been waterboarded enough times to turn his brain into jelly. He will never see freedom again and is likely to get the death penalty. Shall we hang him, draw and quarter him, turn his skin into lampshades and boil his flesh into soap like the Nazis did or southerners did to rebellious slaves?

    March 5, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. munchmom

    DUH! All of the terrorists should be put in front of a military tribunal. They have NO rights as Americans and should never hear a word of the Miranda rights read to them!

    March 5, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Tom C

    Do not cave in to the republicans. Put him on public trial and stick a needle in him when your done. Do it in a area where the recession has hit big time and let them benefit from all the money people will spend on hotels, food, etc.

    March 5, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. Texas Jack

    Why is it taking so long for you idiots to decide this. What the terriost did on 911 was an act of war on a soverign nation. The United States of America. The only recourse is Military tribunal then death to all found guilty. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Only dumb butted Democrats who can not figure out anything. I am so sorry to say I was one for 50 years before this bunch went to the trash heap for their leaders.

    March 5, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. VAVoter

    Don't do it AG Holder!! Civilian court is perfectly fine. Don't succumb to the bararous, bloodthirsty, violent and vengeful spirit that the Republicans are advocating for. Our constitution can stand on its own. If we don't have enough evidence to convict him then we shouldn't have held/kept him in the first place. If he is acquitted and is released (and possibly returns to violence) then we should have either made sure we had enough evidence to convict him or eliminated him if he was that great of a threat. Trying to put the milk back in the carton after the spill is not the American way.

    March 5, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. nick Washington DC

    You certainly pulled this from the headlines promptly...........I suppose the online dating piece was more important. Burying the story will not hide the fact that, yet again, we see this administration backpedaling from a poorly constructed policy position. Talk about Keystone Cops. It would be laughable if it wasn't so alarming.

    March 5, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Angus McDugan

    Well...... What do you know?

    So what if Obama can't keep a promise, at least this is the right decision.

    March 5, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Mark

    Kind of hard to for the justice department to prosecute terrorists when there are a dozen appointed lawyers in the justice department that donated their time to advocate and defend these same terrorists that will go on trial.

    Why our president has loaded the justice department with lawyers who like the terrorists is beyond belief and dangerous to our country.

    March 5, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Fitz in Texas

    This trial, if held in New York, is estimated to cost the taxpayers $200 million a year. It's also estimated to last at least three years. So, the least this trail will cost the taxpayers is $600 million. And if we had people in this administration that knew what they were doing we wouldn't be where we are right now..... Sheesh Louise, 2012 can't get here fast enough.

    March 5, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Dutch

    Military tribunals have no teeth. That theory has been tested and proven. Try him in federal criminal court where the crime occured!!! He's certain to get the death penalty.

    March 5, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. GG

    Just one more demonstration (as if any is needed) of the staggering incompetance of this administration on all levels and issues...And it all starts at the top.

    March 5, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. JWK

    Trying him in a military tribunal would probably be the best thing to do at this point. It should have been done to begin with. The Administration tainted the government's case to begin with by saying "failure is not an option." As usual, the members of the Obama administration shoot their yaps off and we have to deal with the consequences. I thought these people were supposed to be intelligent.

    March 5, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. Pat F

    I am glad they are at least thinking about doing the right thing for a change. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every so often.

    March 5, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. AndyBlue

    Yes lets embarrass ourselves by having a trial for someone who was tortured and waterboarded 183 times.

    This is a great American failure on the highest level thanks to the republicans and they lunacy.

    March 5, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. Kahn ....

    The Justice Department, specifically the AG Eric Holder, has always stated that neither the criminal courts, nor the military tribunal [sounds like something from Star Trek against the Klingons] were perfect for bring KSM to justice.

    He then went on to say that the criminal courts, with our escape-proof and impenatrable maximum security prisons was the better legal option between the two.

    As a true independent, I am saddened that politics has reared its head and may impact the decision made by the legal prosecutorial EXPERTS. The conviction rate in criminal court obliterates that in a military tribunal.

    I am cheered that this administration is "man enough" to reconsider positions ... I can't imagine "The Decider" being comfortable enough in his authority to do that.

    However, since military tribunals have lower conviction rates and since our most secure prisons can hold psychotic mass murderers like Gassey, etc. our country would be better served if the professionals were left alone to do their jobs.

    March 5, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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