Rep. Gohmert: Trying terrorists in federal court jeopardizes U.S. safety
POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2009 - 11:10pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 3:59am
East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert introduces H.R. Bill 4127
NEW YORK CITY - Near the scene of the crime, blocks from where the Twin Towers fell in 2001, the confessed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and 4 accused accomplices, will go on federal trial for the murders of 3,000 people.
Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama are breaking with the Bush Administration to close the prison at Guantanamo. This means notorious confessed terrorists will soon arrive in the United States.
East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert hates the idea. He says it will put our country at risk and cost over $100 million dollars in security for the terrorists to be tried in America.
"These are not American citizens," said Rep. Gohmert. "They are not entitled to American citizens' rights. But, once they are in the U.S. and their feet hit our soil, they will be entitled to more rights according to a number of courts."
He said there is no reason they should get the privileges of Americans to stand trial.
Some conservatives argue that terrorism will be treated - as in the 1990s - as a criminal law enforcement matter.
It'll be an open courtroom.
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama (R) says KSM could speak out.
"It will provide Khalid Sheik Mohammed the position to be a martyr and a hero among Al Qaeda sympathizers," said Sessions.
Congress has given the government the options of trying such people in civilian federal courts or by military commissions, or detaining them without charge as enemy combatants. The circumstances dictate which approach makes the most sense in any specific case.
The best choice in this instance is "a tough call," as U.S. Attorney General Holder testified on November 18 to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Holder and supporters of the New York venue — mostly Democrats — insist it'll show the world America is a country of law, order, due process and openness, where even the enemies of America get a fair trial for all to see.
Gohmert said that may sound positive, but it's nonsense. He said you don't want someone like Mohammed, a confessed terrorist "to the bone" in a densely populated area like New York City.
"The terrorists' friends may rally and come to their aid," said Gohmert.
Holder is on record saying he's confident there's ample evidence to convict the five 9/11 suspects in New York.
But, as Gohmert points out, in a civilian trial if the accused haven't been "Mirandized", and if they've "confessed" under duress, and if the state admits waterboarding techniques and consider torture, the accused could be free to roam the country.
Rep. Gohmert doesn't want that to happen - so he's filed a bill called House Resolution 4127. It's short, only two pages, but its goal is clear: The bill would make it mandatory that all foreign terrorists stand trial in a constitutionally commissioned military courtroom.
"Seventy-four percent of Americans do not want Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his terrorists friends to be tried in district court in New York City or anywhere," said Gohmert. "They need to be tried in military court."
We want to hear your thoughts. Do you think the confessed 9/11 mastermind should be tried in federal court in New York City or a military tribunal?