Andrew McCarthy, leader of the prosecution team who convicted 11 terrorists in civilian court – and frequent guest on the big radio show – discusses the journey to convicting Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other terrorists in civilian courts.
It’s not a problem with security. Getting a conviction is not a big concern for McCarthy either. The problem is the journey the Obama administration has chosen for the terrorists who attacked America.
From McCarthy’s opinion piece in today’s New York Daily News.
We are in a hot war, overwhelmingly authorized by Congress, against vicious enemies still plotting attacks that could dwarf the carnage of 9/11. To deal with war crimes, Congress in 2006 endorsed military commission trials, which have a rich pedigree in our history, are fully consistent with our Constitution, and better enable us to withhold intelligence methods and sources.
Indeed, the Obama administration concedes that military commissions are sound: Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the bombers of the warship Cole will face one.
From a legal standpoint, it makes no sense to try the Al Qaeda quintet in civilian court. Eleven months ago, these men were prepared to plead guilty in their military commission and proceed to execution. Yet the Obama administration pulled the plug on that commission. …
In the military system, we could have denied them access to classified information, forcing them to accept military lawyers with security clearances who could see such intelligence but not share it with our enemies. In civilian court, the Supreme Court has held an accused has an absolute right to conduct his own defense. If KSM asserts that right – as he tried to do in the military commission – he will have a strong argument that we must surrender relevant, top-secret information directly to him. And we know that indicted terrorists share what they learn with their confederates on the outside.
Along with being a frequent guest on Jim’s radio show, McCarthy is (from Wikipedia) a “former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He was most notable for leading the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others.
The defendants were convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and planning a series of attacks against New York City landmarks. He also contributed to the prosecutions of terrorists who bombed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, resigning from the Justice Department in 2003.”