Debra J. Saunders

"I'm not scared of what (self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed) would say at trial," Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee as he defended his decision to prosecute Mohammed and four other accused 9/11 planners in a federal criminal court.

I'm not scared of what KSM has to say in court either. I'm scared of what a federal judge might say and do.

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Mohammed already has said, "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z." By handing the 9/11 Five over to the federal court system, the Obama administration has opened the door for other federal judges to issue rulings that affect or delay the trial and/or punishment.

I'm scared that even a federal judge not presiding over the Trial of The Century could muck it up. Consider California, where in February 2006, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel blocked an execution because there was a .0000000000001 chance that a convicted rapist/murderer facing execution might feel pain when administered a three-drug cocktail. In so ruling, Fogel blocked not only that killer's execution, but also any other execution in California.

I'm scared of what Mohammed's attorneys will say to prolong this trial. As former CIA Director George Tenet wrote in his book, "At the Center of the Storm," when CIA officials first interrogated Mohammed in 2003, he defiantly told them, "I'll talk to you guys after I get to New York and see my lawyer." Now, thanks to Holder, Mohammed is about to say hello to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York -- where undoubtedly, he'll have more than one lawyer.

I'm scared of what President Obama said to NBC's Chuck Todd last week -- that those bothered with the change of venue for Mohammed won't find it "offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him." In pronouncing the verdict and punishment before the trial, Obama has handed civil libertarians ammunition.

I'm scared by what Holder said in response to this question by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: "Can you give me a case in U.S. history where an enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?" Holder said he'd "have to look at that," after which Graham answered that there is no such case.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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