Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holder in front of Congress

Some interesting and thought-provoking questions, particularly with respect to catching bin Laden (or Zawahiri)...

Here's Jon Kyl pressing for an answer as to why Holder thinks he has a better chance to get a conviction in federal court than a tribunal after KSM and the others had already expressed an interest to plead guilty at Gitmo. His reply--that he doesn't know what KSM might do today--seemed more like defensive spin on the Senate hot seat than a thoughtful and considered line of reasoning as to the possibility of overturn on appeal.

But if such were his worry why doesn't it pertain to al-Nashiri? If there's no way KSM ever walks why not complete the tribunal already started then proceed to federal court on older charges (Bojinka) if it fails? Or would that open too many old wounds?

Whatever, it's odd both Holder and Obama are trumpeting our values as the big reason for bringing these guys stateside while simultaneously proclaiming their guilt. Holder called KSM a 'murderer' and a 'terrorist' today. It looks more likely this administration has an ulterior motive here, unless they are grossly incompetent.

Finally, Hot Air links to an NPR story about Khalid Mohammad's teacher at Chowdan College in North Carolina and of a friend who attended NC A&T with him in the 80s. Amazingly, we now know almost as much about KSM's college years as we do about the president's.

MORE 11/19/09

After looking at more testimony a common thread runs consistently throughout Holder's answers--the admissibility of evidence. He's suggesting the only reason they are bringing these guys to federal court is because he's not sure evidence gained by enhanced methods wouldn't be tossed even in a military commission, which means they will presumably be using evidence obtained before his capture. Holder made a point to remind Lindsay Graham that bin Laden was under indictment before 9/11, but so was KSM. The public was simply never made aware.

So, what's the evidence they will use to get a death penalty conviction? The only thing that comes to mind is the Bokinka plot, of which his nephew Ramzi Yousef was convicted. There is probably evidence on the laptop that Yousef and Murad were using that connects to KSM, along with other evidence such as NSA or wiretap evidence from the 90s or even before his capture. But the big question is, why can't any of that be used in a military tribunal?

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