GOP reacts angrily to trial moveBy Jake Sherman
November 13, 2009
Republicans are irate over the move to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York, perhaps within walking distance of Ground Zero. Yet Democrats – including some from New York City – are comfortable with the idea that the mastermind of 9/11 will ultimately judged by a jury of New Yorkers.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a Long Island Congressman on the homeland security committee, told POLITICO Friday morning that terrorists should not be afforded the same rights to trials that Americans enjoy. King said President Barack Obama is “caving into political correctness and the left wing base of his political party.” Lower Manhattan, where many presume the case will be heard, could turn into a “circus,” he said.
“I am really disgusted by it,” King told POLITICO Friday morning. “To me, it’s truly an insult to the memory of those killed on 9/11.”
Liberals are moving quickly to show that this is not controversial as it seems. Former Rep. Tom Andrews (D-Maine), an advocate for closing Guantanamo, said 195 terrorists were tried, convicted and imprisoned on American soil during the Bush years.
And Rep. Michael McMahon (D-N.Y.), who represents a Staten Island district where many World Trade Center victims lived, said nobody wants terrorists on American soil, but it could help provide closure to the families of victims.
“It’s time to move forward and bring these animals to justice,” McMahon told POLITICO Friday.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who represents Manhattan’s Upper East Side and a swath of Queens, said she finds it fitting that a group of New Yorkers will decide the fate of those who allegedly plotted the worst attack on American soil.
“I thank President Obama for his leadership and for taking this important step to hold these terrorists accountable for their despicable actions,” Maloney said in an emailed statement.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), who chairs the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee, said “it is inconceivable that we would bring these alleged terrorists back to New York for trial.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the move “irresponsible.”
“The Obama Administration’s irresponsible decision to prosecute the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in New York City puts the interests of liberal special interest groups before the safety and security of the American people,” Boehner said in a news release.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said trying the alleged terrorists in New York could afford them constitutional rights which would prevent the use of information obtained through enhanced interrogation.
“Trying terrorists in military commissions at Guantanamo Bay is the most appropriate venue and safest option for the American people,” Smith said in a news release. “America already gives terrorists more constitutional rights than any other country. The Administration should not prioritize the rights of terrorists over the rights of Americans to be safe and secure.”