January 31st, 2010
03:56 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama aide: Alleged 9/11 mastermind 'going to meet his maker'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/31/art.gibbsiso0131.cnn.jpg caption="White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks 'is going to meet justice.'"]
Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration is undaunted in its desire to bring to justice the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks despite an apparent setback in its plans for a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Sunday.

Mohammed “is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker,” Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“In a federal courtroom or in a military commission?” CNN Chief National Correspondent John King interjected.

“He will be brought to justice and he is likely to be executed for the heinous crimes that he committed in killing – in masterminding the killing of 3,000 Americans. That you can be sure of,” Gibbs told King.

Asked again whether the administration still wants to try Mohammed in a civilian federal court or would, instead, consider a military tribunal, Gibbs pointed out that other terrorists who targeted the United States have been successfully tried in the federal courts.

After announcing that Mohammed would be tried in Manhattan federal court not far from Ground Zero, the Obama administration has, in recent days, signaled that a trial in New York City likely will not happen because of concerns about security and the high costs of protecting the city during such a high-profile event.

“We are talking with the authorities in New York. We understand their logistical concerns and their security concerns that are involved. We have been discussing that with them,” Gibbs told King.

“We want to see this man tried and brought to justice in the place in which the crime was committed. We’ll work with them and come to a solution that we think will bring about justice,” Gibbs added.

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Great leaders learn from their decisions. No great leader is even 50% correct on all decision-making. What they do, however, is take the lessons from the consequences of their decisions and use it in the future.

    U.S. Courts are not the place to try muslim fundamentalist foreign terrorists. Military tribunals are. Giving such terrorists the same rights as a US citizen while in court is wrong, giving them a public forum which will energize their base, and finally, it will cost the american taxpayer far more in terms of dollars and security to hold such trials.

    In effect, you are giving a break to the muslim fundamentalist foreign terrorists at the expense of the American citizen. What side is our President on?

    January 31, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. JonDie

    Although I agree that trying terror suspects in lower Manhattan was a poorly thought-out decision that would have been too expensive and would have complicated the locals' lives too much, what drives Republican opposition to such trials is 1) attacking the Democrats (aka politics are usual), 2) a desire to continue undermining our Constitution in order to replace it with a corporate-run dictatorship of radical extremists who aren't accountable to anyone but the GOP Central Committee, and 3) COWARDICE of the part of Republicans because from 2002 to 2008, Bush and the Republicans did NOTHING to fight Al Qaeda, they were too busy looting Iraq along with running up a trillion dollar deficit here at home.

    January 31, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Angel

    I say after he is convicted....We STONE him to death. Let him suffer a slow but painful death in the most humiliating way. Heck throw steel toed shoes at him to add the insult.

    January 31, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. The Weatherman

    It should be a military trial at Guantanomo but, the democrats can't admit Bush Jr. made a smart choice.

    If the democrats want to save face, they can have the trial in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for pennies on the dollar and excellent security without endangering millions of people in a city with economic importance.

    JFK must be turning in his grave, not to mention Thomas Jefferson. Today's democrats are an embarrassment. I think they inhaled in their youth.

    The Weatherman

    January 31, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Jason

    I'm receiving mixed signals from the White House. On the one hand, Americans are told not to "jump to conclusions" in the Fort Hood case. On the other hand, we're told that, to satisfy the conditions of public justice, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed must be tried in a civilian court; however, Holder, Gibbs, and others repeatedly emphasize that KSM *will* be found guilty, no matter what.

    My personal opinion is that KSM and other al-Qa'ida fighters should be tried in military tribunals, or at least held in a sensible containment area (like, say, Gitmo) until a tribunal can be arranged.

    Nevertheless, it would be nice to see some coherence and consistency from this administration. The respective evidence against both KSM and Nidal Hasan seems substantial enough; yet one's death sentence is a fait accompli - despite the requirement that he be paraded about in a farcical public trial - while the other is protected by the president himself against the merest speculation about his participation in a heinous crime.

    January 31, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Nimises

    Simply teleconference the man into court. He can remain incarserated throughout the trial and participate in it. It won't matter where the trial is then. Anyone with a webcam can do that.

    January 31, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Mass Independent

    So what he is trying to say is....... Obama is listening. Yet another of his poorly thought out policies is a failure and they aren't quite sure how to save face. Maybe a football analogy would be fitting with the Superbowl coming up. Oh wait. You already used that with health care being on the 5 yard line. unfortunately I see yet another fumble in the future. Get it? fumble? Can't wait for the future failures like comparing them to the Olympics ( well winter Olympics since I am sure the summer Olympics is still a sore spot).

    January 31, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. David C

    This administration thinks it can get away with anything. Talk about ruining a jury pool. This makes what Nixon said sound judicial. How much more pompous can you get. It would serve Gibbs and Obama right if a civil judge threw out all charges due to tampering with the jury pool. How more more ignorant can this administration get.

    January 31, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. JK Ashburn, VA

    And when Bush said "Wanted, dead or alive", everyone accused him of all sorts of international atrocities. How is what Gibbs said any different?

    January 31, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. House Guest in SC

    I'm glad this is going to be a fair trial... especially with Gibbs quote above of:

    Mohammed “is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker,” Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

    Sounds like pre-judging to me, not that he deserves anything better.

    January 31, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. JK Ashburn, VA

    Isn't this an interesting turnabout from the image Obama was trying to convey before? Will our allies turn on him? Oh wait, they've all be only giving him lip service only so what do we have to lose.

    The libs all thought Bush was dangerous. Now what do y'all think of Obama now that he's moving way to the right to try and keep his job?

    January 31, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Gil Oberdas

    It doesn't sound very good to have such words coming out of anyone before the trial. Of course, the right probably loves it and well they should with their mind set!

    January 31, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. 4 Palin

    Does Gibbs and President Obama realize that they are making comments that will HELP the terrorist when they go to trial??? Any defense lawyer will jump on these comments!!!! I think that this administration would love to see the terrorist go free!!!! Please Gibbs keep your mouth shut about what will happen when the terrorist go to trial. Remember our justice system believes that you are innocent until proven guilty.

    January 31, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Biased

    In response to th democrtic talking point of the day:
    It's a fact. About 200 of them, including including “shoe bomber” Richard Reid; al-Qaeda agent Jose Padilla; “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh; the Lackawanna Six; and Zacarias Moussaoui,

    How about we realize as Dana Perino talked about, many of these were before 9/11, some before Gitmo and military tribunals were set up, the show bomber pleased guilty, some were because the democrats kept taking the tribunal system to court , and several mentioned were American citizens who have the right to a federal trial as citizens. So if we are going to talk about how great the system was, let's be honest as to why they were in the system or when.

    January 31, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Disgruntled Progressive

    So much for separation of church and state.

    January 31, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. D. Bunker

    The Torture Party, aka the GOP, is a bunch of cowards. A fair trial is a sign of the strength of our country and our values. Sure Gibb's comments were stupid, but sheriffs and prosecutors around the country make equally stupid statements every day. All that matters is that a judge can seat a jury that is willing to set aside what they've heard and consider only the evidence. Given KSM's desire to confess his guilt, it's pretty certain he will be found guilty. So stop wetting your bed in fear and let the system work.

    January 31, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. Richard Cain

    What's the point of having an expensive and cumbersome trial ... if the administration declares "he will meet his maker"? So, the administration declares he's guilty? That's the great example of American justice you're trotting out?

    January 31, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. B

    He doesn’t have a maker, and get on with it and just do your job.

    All of this political-revenge talk..

    January 31, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Right, not Wrong

    "He's going to meet his maker" smacks of religion. Doesn't Gibbs know about the first amendment? He's not allowed to impose his version of Supreme justice on an Islamic Fundamentalist terrorist.

    January 31, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  20. Brian

    I like Gibbs, but man.. i really wish he wouldn't have said that...

    January 31, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  21. mh

    Gibbs is such an arrogant idiot.

    January 31, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    the president of the united states of america mr barack obama walked (here in baltimore) in to the lions den and came out without a scratch. The GOP still today are scratching there heads and looking at each other and saying what happened.

    January 31, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  23. aware

    Evil and the Justice of God or Obama knows best! 🙁

    January 31, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  24. Ertdfg

    Good to see Gibbs doing everything he can to show prejudice in the trial, poison and tamper with the jury, and make sure KSM will go free...

    Wait, not good... stupid. Idiotic brainless moronic imbecility seems closer.

    But hey, Obama has also said this as well, and he's a Constitutional Law scholar and stuff, so prejudging a trial and poisoning the jury must be entirely appropriate, right?

    Oh, and lets pretend this sentence is a useless non sequitur attack on Republicans since that seems to be required in this comment page.

    January 31, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  25. mavcal

    This must be the Obama administration's intellectual elitist version of Dead or Alive.

    January 31, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
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