November 16th, 2009
04:06 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans want KSM tried in military court

Washington (CNN) - Two-thirds of Americans disagree with the Obama administration's decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court rather than a military court, according to a new national poll.

But six in 10 people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday say that the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks should be tried in the United States, as the administration plans to do, rather than at a U.S. facility in another country.

The poll indicates that 64 percent believe Mohammed should be tried in military court, with 34 percent suggesting that he face trial in civilian court. Six in 10 people questioned say Mohammed should be tried stateside, with 37 percent calling for the trial to take place at a U.S. facility in another country.

"The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in front of a civilian court is universally unpopular - even a majority of Democrats and liberals say that he should be tried by military authorities," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Despite that, most Americans say that he will get a fair trial in the U.S."

Mohammed is one of five Guantanamo Bay detainees with alleged ties to the 9/11 attacks that will be tried in civilian court in New York.
"After eight years of delay, those allegedly responsible for the attacks of September 11 will finally face justice," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday.

Mohammed, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Walid bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi will all be transferred to the Southern District of New York - a few blocks from where the World Trade Center towers stood prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

What should happen if Mohammed is found guilty?

"Nearly eight in 10 favor the death penalty if that happens - including one in five who say they normally oppose the death penalty, but would support it in this case," adds Holland.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall sample.

Full results (pdf)

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN poll • Khalid Sheik Mohammed
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. fovillian

    We've ALREADY tried, and convicted, people of the same crimes in U.S. court . . . under the last "president".

    November 16, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. Fontana Al

    We hold some the most vicious criminals, War or not in our jail system
    The Blind Shiek from the 1993 bombing was tried and convicted in America.Noriega,Carlos Lehder the Columbian Drug kingpin.Not to
    downplay 911, but drugs kill way more people then any terrorist,and every Drug Kingpin that we have proof on we want them to
    stand trail in America,and they have been known to blowup a few building and airplanes as well.Some of those prisoners in Gitmo may or may not be guilt at least they will have a day in court after 6 are 7 years. just sitting in jail.How many people have Bush killed in his unjust war in Iraq? Way more than 911 not to mention the innocent men ,woman and children,collateral damage I quest.

    November 16, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  3. jabstat

    I'm a Dem, and voted for Obama, but that was a bonehead decision... Costly, dangerous, unnecessary. Try 'em all in military court.

    November 16, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  4. Dimslie

    Obama and his stooge Attorney General are fools. We're just lucky they aren't releasing the scum outright. If this brings about another act of terrorism the fool will be bowing to more than the Japanese Emporer.

    November 16, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  5. Thersites

    I like the idea of the Courthouse we built in Cuba. Why would we want to bring terrorists into our country who could never get in otherwise? Besides that we may have our differences with Cuba, but at least we can agree on this (a good start IMO)!

    November 16, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  6. Roni

    It's hard to understand the logic of a terrorist. These extremist want a platform, both military or highly publicized civilan trial will give them that...if American's stay focused on actually weakening their network and continue to support the War–we will be successful.

    I don't think it is so much that WE are scare of potential failure in our judicial system, but that these individuals shouldn't be afforded these rights. They are war criminals in that, they declared War on the West and have an organized system of operatives dedicated to their mission of the destruction of the US and allies.

    Bottom line in my opinion, this is a very dissapointing decision by the US Attorney General, Justice Department and the US President.

    November 16, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. RodBrombacher

    Yes, I agree. Cheney should be tried as a war criminal, but in The Hague in the World Court.

    And the 9/11 bastards SHOULD be tried in NYC, and they should be placed in Rikers Island on the weekends and hold them in the Toombs during the trial days...(It's a royal dump ....the rats are HUGE ,the roaches are massive and the food, if you can call it that, sucks).


    November 16, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  8. anonymous

    We all know why obama wants it in nyc is so he can spend more of our tax money and weaken our dollar that much more this guys a joke I wish I would have never voted in the last election. We should just lower our flag and raise a white one now because this is not proper change I had in mind

    November 17, 2009 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
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