On Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement this morning to bring Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and five other high-value 9/11 hijackers to the United States, the American people need to ask: Why is this necessary?
KSM has already confessed to being not only the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, but also to planning multiple additional attacks on Americans. He is already being held in the best possible security at Guantanamo Bay, and he has already been charged for his crimes in a military commission process where he faces the death penalty.
What possible benefit is there to bringing him into the United States for trial? There is absolutely none for the American people, but there is every benefit to KSM and al-Qaeda propagandists, who will use it as a platform to put the United States on trial and broadcast their propaganda and jihadist ideology to the world. After the Fort Hood shootings, is this propaganda really what we need on television day after day after day to incite more violence?
We’ve already seen this repeatedly. In a status review at Guantanamo in 2007, KSM bragged that “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan.”
Last year, in the military commission process, KSM bragged again, “killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks, are all considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion.”
On top of the jihadist propaganda, using the civilian court system will only invite making our counterterrorism programs the subject of even further “lawfare,” and may raise additional practical issues. The Guardian newspaper has already pointed out that a civilian trial will pose “huge challenges” in security and handling of classified evidence—that are completely unnecessary to undertake.
KSM already is on trial and already has asked to confess. Why can’t the president take “guilty” for an answer?
Rep. Pete Hoekstra is the ranking member of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.