Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the five individuals accused of conspiring to commit the 9/11 attacks — including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — will be prosecuted in U.S. federal court. “I am confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial, just as they have for over 200 years,” said Holder. “The alleged 9/11 conspirators will stand trial in our justice system before an impartial jury under long-established rules and procedures.”
But the U.S. justice system apparently isn’t good enough for former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (who believes that the White House has a “Department of Law“). Last night she went on Facebook and posted a message calling the Obama administration’s decision “atrocious”:
Horrible decision, absolutely horrible. It is devastating for so many of us to hear that the Obama Administration decided that the 9/11 terrorist mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be given a criminal trial in New York. This is an atrocious decision. [...]
Criminal defense attorneys will now enter into delaying tactics and other methods in the hope of securing some kind of win for their “clients.” The trial will afford Mohammed the opportunity to grandstand and make use of his time in front of the world media to rally his disgusting terrorist cohorts. It will also be an insult to the victims of 9/11, as Mohammed will no doubt use the opportunity to spew his hateful rhetoric in the same neighborhood in which he ruthlessly cut down the lives of so many Americans. [...]
If we are stuck with this terrible Obama Administration decision, I, like most Americans, hope that Mohammed and his co-conspirators are convicted. Hang ‘em high.
Palin further insulted the U.S. legal system by lamenting that a “hung jury” or “court room technicalities” may allow the defendants to walk away from this trial without receiving just punishment.” But the decision to make terrorists face the U.S. court system isn’t just an idea dreamed up by the Obama administration; there’s a strong precedent for it in this country. The U.S. has already successfully prosecuted 145 terrorism cases in federal court,including shoe bomber Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui.
In fact, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani praised the prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers:
-– “‘It should show that our legal system is the most mature legal system in the history of the world,’ he [Giuliani] said, ‘that it works well, that that is the place to seek vindication if you feel your rights have been violated.’” [The New York Times, 3/5/94]
-– “[M]any who were bruised by the traumatic event were certain that no verdict by a jury or punishment by a judge will exorcise the pain and terror that remain. … Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani declared that the verdict ‘demonstrates that New Yorkers won’t meet violence with violence, but with a far greater weapon — the law.’” [The New York Times, 3/5/94]
-– “I think it shows you put terrorism on one side, you put our legal system on the other, and our legal system comes out ahead,” said Giuliani. [CBS Evening News, 3/5/94]
Even in the weeks after Sept. 11, Giuliani “framed the attacks in the language of crime, describing the hijackers as ‘insane murderers’ and calling for restoration of the ‘rule of law.’” As CAP’s Ken Gude explains, Holder’s decision is a “victory for the rule of law and the American system of justice.”