Custom Search

Monday, November 16, 2009

Does Obama Remember al-Qaeda?

Barack Obama has used the words "al Qaeda" before, but they were written by other people and he was reading most the time and Obama's latest decision to have Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other al Qaeda operatives tried in New York City's federal court instead of having a military trial, makes some wonder if he truly remembers who and what al-Qaeda really is.

Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo explains what this decision of Obama's means legally and the danger to our national security.

Emphasis below will be mine.

Trying KSM in civilian court will be an intelligence bonanza for al Qaeda and the hostile nations that will view the U.S. intelligence methods and sources that such a trial will reveal. The proceedings will tie up judges for years on issues best left to the president and Congress.

Whether a jury ultimately convicts KSM and his fellows, or sentences them to death, is beside the point. The treatment of the 9/11 attacks as a criminal matter rather than as an act of war will cripple American efforts to fight terrorism. It is in effect a declaration that this nation is no longer at war.

KSM is the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon—and a "terrorist entrepreneur," according to the 9/11 Commission report. He was the brains behind a succession of operations against the U.S., including the 1996 "Bojinka plot" to crash jetliners into American cities. Together with Osama bin Laden, he selected the 9/11 terrorists, arranged their financing and training, and ran the whole operation from abroad.

After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan KSM eventually became bin Laden's operations chief. American and Pakistani intelligence forces captured him on March 1, 2003, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

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.

Read the whole thing to see another example of what happens when you put war criminals in a civilian court.

Commentary Magazine sums it all up:

The president would have us believe that this is all Holder’s doing. Obama wasn’t even in the country when the announcement was made. If true, Obama has abandoned his obligation to make key decisions affecting national security. But who really believes that? No, this is the president’s call. KSM is landing in a civilian courtroom because Obama wants him there. Whatever flows from that, whatever damage is done to our national security, is his responsibility. And frankly, whatever anguish is experienced by the victims’ families, who will now hear KSM proclaim the virtue of his cause, is also Obama’s. He should have had the decency and the courage to tell them and the American people why he thought this was necessary.

Handing al-Qaeda tools to attack us again, information on how to bypass our security measures, and methods on tracking and arresting terrorists, is helping al-Qaeda and giving them the means to attack us again.

Of all the bad decisions Barack Obama has made in the last 10 months, this is the worst and the most dangerous to our country.