It took two years, but the Obama administration finally announced that self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four alleged co-conspirators will face prosecution by a military tribunal in Guantanamo. Attorney General Eric Holder, appearing as if he had been waterboarded into reversing his prior decision to try them in a federal court in New York, made the announcement yesterday.
The reversal spared the nation from a made-for-TV Al Qaeda propaganda circus and allowed New Yorkers to breathe a sigh of relief that they won’t have to host these monsters in their backyard.
Nevertheless, Holder just couldn’t miss an opportunity to take a swipe at Congress for what he called its “unwise and unwarranted” restrictions on where alien enemy combatants could be tried. This left him no choice but to abandon his original boneheaded decision to call for a civil trial in New York:
Unfortunately, since I made that decision, Members of Congress have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States, regardless of the venue. Members of Congress simply do not have access to the evidence and other information necessary to make prosecution judgments.
Do I know better than them? Yes. I respect their ability to disagree but they should respect that this is an executive branch function, a unique executive branch function.
And here I thought that Congress – which passed the Military Commissions Act of 2009 signed by President Obama under the legislative branch’s constitutional authority to “constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court” (Art. I, Sec. 8) and to “ordain and establish” the inferior courts (Art. III, Sec. 1 ) – was equal to the executive branch.
Holder’s friends in the ACLU are also disappointed that poor KSM (as the Islamic terrorist monster is affectionately known) is not going to get all the rights Americans are entitled to in a federal criminal court.