Holder in the dock as critics focus on New York 9/11 terror trial
Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision was bound to raise sharp responses. Those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks are weighing in along with politicians and pundits.
No one knows for sure when (or even if) Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused 9/11 terrorists will enter a New York courtroom to face a judge and jury. For one thing, defense attorneys may want to shift the venue away from the place just blocks from where the World Trade Center’s twin towers fell in a murderous pile.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
But for US Attorney General Eric Holder -- front man in the Obama administration’s decision to bring alleged 9/11 “mastermind” Mohammed and the others from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Manhattan -- the trial has already begun, and he’s the one in the dock.
No one would disagree with Mr. Holder’s characterization of the September 2001 attacks by hijacked aircraft as “literally the crime of the century.”
But it took only about three nanoseconds for politicians and other partisans to begin weighing in on the subject, generally along these lines as expressed in the two national newspapers published in New York City:
The Wall Street Journal. “Eric Holder's decision to move a trial on war crimes to American soil is morally confused, dangerous and political to a fault.”
The New York Times.“It was an enormous victory for the rule of law, a major milestone in Mr. Obama’s efforts to close the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and an important departure from [former president] Bush’s disregard for American courts and their proven ability to competently handle high-profile terror cases.”
New York’s mayor, governor, and police commissioner all say they’re OK with Holder’s decision.
"They are responsible for the deaths of 3,000 people right here in Manhattan, and I think they should be tried in the venue where they committed the crime," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters Friday. "That has always been the standard in our criminal justice system. I see it fitting and appropriate."
Mayor Bloomberg notes that the city has hosted terrorism trials before, including the successful 1995 conviction of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and other Islamic militants responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
But Obama’s (and Holder’s) political opponents are having none of that. Some examples: