Judicial Watch • JW Statement on the Obama Justice Department’s Announcement that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be Tried before Military Commission

JW Statement on the Obama Justice Department’s Announcement that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be Tried before Military Commission

JW Statement on the Obama Justice Department’s Announcement that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be Tried before Military Commission

APRIL 04, 2011

“It is no coincidence that this stunning reversal comes on the day that President Obama announced his reelection campaign. We are grateful that the opposition of the American people beat back the ‘terrorist lobby’ in the Obama administration to keep the KSM trial in Gitmo, where it belongs.”

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — April 4, 2011

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today regarding the Obama Justice Department’s stunning reversal that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be tried by a military commission and not by a civil court in New York City, as the Obama administration had originally planned.

“It is no coincidence that this stunning reversal comes on the day that President Obama announced his reelection campaign. We are grateful that the opposition of the American people beat back the ‘terrorist lobby’ in the Obama administration to keep the KSM trial in Gitmo, where it belongs. The mishandling of the KSM trial is another blow to Attorney General Eric Holder, who should have been replaced long ago. Mr. Holder has demonstrated that he is incapable of providing the leadership necessary for the fair and competent administration of justice at DOJ.“KSM long ago pled guilty to the charges initially brought against him in military commission proceedings. That he still walks the face of the Earth highlights the moral and strategic failure of the Obama administration’s approach to the terrorist detention issue. We hope this political decision will begin to undo the damage done to our nation’s security by the Obama administration’s ideological attack on Gitmo.”

Regarding the military tribunal system, Judicial Watch Litigation Director Paul Orfanedes visited Guantanamo Bay in 2008 by invitation to monitor military commission proceedings against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other top 9/11 conspirators. Judicial Watch’s presence provided some balance to the ACLU and other radical groups advocating for the terrorist detainees. Following his visit to Guantanamo Bay, Mr. Orfanedes said he witnessed a “deep commitment” to justice on the part of military lawyers.Judicial Watch has been sharply critical of the Obama administration’s mishandling of the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed decision and the administration’s expressed intent to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Judicial Watch has also battled the Obama administration to obtain documents that would shed light on the threat of terrorism and the administration’s response.For example, Judicial Watch recently obtained documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) detailing the significant risks of releasing “enemy combatants” detained at Guantanamo Bay. Judicial Watch also obtained documents from the Obama DOD detailing a deliberate campaign by al-Qaida and other extremist groups to recruit juveniles and launch terrorist attacks against children. The records consist of two Joint Task Force Intelligence Information Reports from debriefs of detainees at the U.S. terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.In 2009, Judicial Watch released a CIA report entitled, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: Preeminent Source on Al Qa’ida, which documented the information gained by interrogations of Mohammed: “KSM’s decade-long career as a terrorist, during which he met with a broad range of Islamic extremists from around the world, has made him a key source of information on numerous al-Qaida operatives and other mujahidin. He has provided intelligence that has led directly to the capture of operatives or fleshed out our understanding of the activities of important detainees, which in turn assisted in the debriefings of these individuals.” This document was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

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