Instead of bringing suspected mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects to Manhattan federal court, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says military tribunals are better suited to try those accused of terrorism.
“A military tribunal is certainly fair,” Giuliani said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “it’s a great example to the rest of the world. The tradition for over 150 years has been to use those military tribunals.”
Giuliani said that law enforcement officials had made a mistake in using civilian federal court to try those accused of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
“To treat the 1993 bombing as if it were just a criminal act – just one of the 1,973 murders in the city of New York that year – was a big mistake. So, basically the Obama administration is repeating the mistake of history. . . . It should’ve been treated as an act of war.
“And it’s part of a bigger picture here,” Giuliani told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “it’s part of Barack Obama deciding that we’re not at war with terrorism any longer. So this is not treated as if it was an act of war which is what it should be treated like.”
The former New York City mayor also said the Obama administration’s decision not to use the phrase “war on terror,” a phrase coined and used frequently by the previous administration, was problematic.
“The only problem with [Obama’s approach], John, is the terrorists haven’t stopped going to war with us. It may be that the Obama administration doesn’t think that we’re at war with them but they’re very clear on the fact that they’re at war with us.”
Giuliani also said the trials will pose security problems for New York City including additional threats in a city already regarded as a target, millions of dollars in additional security costs, and the inconvenience of having to close areas around the federal courthouse where the trials will take place.
Because military tribunals are available as an alternative means to try terrorism suspects, Giuliani said Holder’s decision posed “unnecessary risk” to the city and gave “unnecessary advantage” to the suspected terrorists.
“If it was necessary, if this was the only option, well, of course, I’d be in favor of it,” Giuliani told King.
Updated: 1:57 p.m.