WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michele Bachmann was among a group of House Republicans who took to the steps of the Supreme Court today to blast Attorney General Eric Holder and the White House over their decision to try alleged Sept. 11 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a federal court in New York City.
House members derided the move as “illogical,” running through a range of objections from saying it would invite another terrorist attack on New York, that the trial would disintegrate into a spectacle and that Mohammed might not be convicted if he were afforded constitutional full rights under a federal court.
“We would have had 100 percent certainty in a military tribunal, but because of the provisions of reasonable doubt, that could turn into something like 80 percent,” Bachmann said, adding that his chance of conviction was a “side issue” to the main issue is “keeping the American people safe.”
Administration officials have noted several times in recent weeks that accused terrorists have occasionally been tried in civilian courts, convicted and imprisoned on U.S. soil without incident. Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, convicted in New York in 1995 of plotting to bomb the United Nations and other New York City landmarks, is one example. He is currently imprisoned at the Federal Medical Center prison in Rochester, Minn. Furthermore, they say a federal trial would give Mohammed no more of a chance to “spew his hateful rhetoric” than would a military tribunal.
Holder told Sen. Amy Klobuchar in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in November that cases tried under similar circumstances to Mohammed’s have a 94 percent conviction rate.
“Failure is not an option. These are cases that have to be won. I don’t expect to have a contrary result,” Holder said.
“I support showing the mastermind of 9/11 the meaning of American justice in our courts,” Sen. Al Franken said later in that hearing. “That justice is what makes us strong and our courts are prepared to handle it.”