Lindsey Graham seeks to block 9/11 trials in U.S.

Lindsey Graham seeks to block 9/11 trials in U.S.

James Rosen
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is trying to prevent the Obama administration from holding criminal trials in civilian courts for the alleged Sept. 11 plotters instead of bringing them before military commissions.

Graham, who helped craft the 2006 law that established the military commissions, said Friday that he'd attached an amendment to an appropriations bill that would prohibit the Obama administration from spending money on the prosecution and trial of the accused terrorists before U.S. civilian federal judges.

"Khalid Sheik Mohammed needs to be tried in a military tribunal," Graham said. "He's not a common criminal. He took up arms against the United States."

Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is being held at the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, along with four other alleged plotters of the jetliner strikes that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.

The Obama administration is studying whether the plotters should be brought to the U.S. to face trial. Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department's general counsel, told the Senate Armed Forces Committee in July that the administration preferred trying some of the Guantánamo detainees in civilian courts, but hadn't decided where to hold trials for the accused 9/11 plotters.

"It is the administration view that when you direct violence on innocent civilians in the continental United States, it may be appropriate that that person be brought to justice in a civilian public forum in the continental United States," Johnson said then.

Federal prosecutors in at least four different U.S. attorneys' offices in Virginia and New York are vying to bring the alleged Sept. 11 conspirators to court for what would be among the most high-profile criminal trials in the nation's history.

Earlier this week, Democratic leaders in Congress agreed to drop provisions of another bill that would have blocked funding for transferring any Guantánamo detainees to the U.S. for trial.

Graham, an Air Force Reserve colonel and the only member of Congress who's served active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, said trying the 9/11 plotters in federal courts, instead of before the military tribunals, would be a grave mistake.

"I've been warning the administration not to criminalize the war on terror," Graham said. "These guys should be tried in military court, where we can protect classified evidence better. These people aren't robbing liquor stores. They're part of terrorist organizations that are waging war against the United States."

Open trials in federal courts would become media circuses, Graham said.

"It would be a nightmare," he said. "It would become a zoo, and it would change the theory of how we detain these people."

Such trials, Graham said, would make surrounding communities terrorist targets.

Graham's amendment blocking funds for civilian prosecutions and trials is part of the annual measure to fund the U.S. departments of justice, commerce, state and other federal agencies.

The Senate took up the appropriations bill Thursday. Graham said he hopes to force a vote on his amendment as early as next week.

Aides at the White House, the Pentagon and in the Justice Department declined to comment on Graham's amendment.

The amendment reads in part: "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available for the Department of Justice by this Act may be obligated or expended to commence or continue the prosecution in (a civilian) court of the United States of an individual suspected of planning, authorizing, organizing, committing or aiding the attacks on the United States and its citizens that occurred on September 11, 2001."

"As a matter of policy, we don't generally comment on proposed or pending legislation," said Cynthia O. Smith, a Defense Department spokeswoman.

Obama has pledged to shutter Guantánamo by January, a deadline that Graham said he doubts the president will meet.

Attorney General Eric Holder is overseeing a Cabinet-level task force of prosecutors, Pentagon lawyers and other senior officials to determine how to handle the more than 220 detainees at Guantánamo.

Decisions on many of those cases are expected by mid-November.


Was a crime, not an act of war. The "powers that be" who Lindsay Graham serves don't want it to be taken to a criminal court where evidence would be presented, etc... and so on. They want to be able to control the process by which the alleged perpetrators of 9/11 are prosecuted, and they can't do that in a civilian court.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

Show Trials....Except..

...except there will be no "show" as the procedings will be kept from public view.

Not an act of war, but of special terrorism.

True. For 9/11 to be act of war, it would needed to be executed by a foreign government. It was, however, an act of terrorism, a self inflicted terrorism attack. Therefore, an act of an "unusual crime", I guess.

It was not this sheik, or Bin Ladin, who was present in hijacked airplanes, or who trained in US airplane schools, with CIA knowledge, and who's actions were allowed, incited or used, enhanced by perpetrators of 9/11 controlled demolition attacks.

You cannot go to foreign countries, without permission - passports, and pick up individuals and place them in torture indefinite detention camps, just because they hate US occupation of their, or other's, lands, and because they'd "like to attack US".

This is a path to a war, and every war empire eventually collapsed.

Is it necessary to repeat this grave historical error and crime of using war, violence as means of foreign policy?

You know what...

Would make for a good article? Every example ever of how desperate people in Government and media are to refer to 9/11 as an "act of war" as opposed to a crime, explain why it is a crime and not an act of war, and show the differences between a civilian court, and a military tribunal, and ask the question why would people in Government not want to have a civilian court try these people.

Someone have that on my desk by 8am sharp.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

9/11 was a crime and an act of war

9/11 was a treasonous crime, an act of mass murder and treason. Treason is a very unique crime in a few ways. One is that it is the only crime defined in the U.S. Constitution. This is partly, I think. because it is a foundational crime against the entire spirit of a government of, for and by the people. Another very unique aspect of the crime of treason is that it is a crime that is also an act or acts of war. Treason in the United States Constitution is defined as an act of waging war against the U.S. or giving aid and comfort to those that do. Those who perpetrated the 9/11 operational coup and the subsequent policy and constitutional coup are waging war against the government and the people of the United States of America and the entire world. If 9/11 were just a crime, there wouldn't have been an attack on the constitutional framework and the rights of the people afterwards and there wouldn't be armies amassed on the other side of the world waging war on the peoples of the planet.

We must be clear that though many of us have decided to not wage war, there are those who have chosen to wage war against all of us, the people of this country and the planet. They should be tried in a United States federal court for all their crimes, and included in this is the crime of treason, waging war against the United States while having given their allegiance to serve the country and/or giving aid and comfort before, during or after the fact to those that did.

“Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught in falsehoods school. And the one man that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.” –Plato

"We must speak the truth about terror." --George W. Bush

Their wars

I think Nafeez Ahmed had thoughts similar to yours when he entitled his books, 'The War on Freedom' and 'The War on Truth.'

I do agree...

That the perpetrators of 9/11 declared war against the people. It was an act of war... against us... but not in the traditional sense.

Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?

Grandstanding justice

Anyway you look at it, it's a waste of taxpayers' money to try him in any court, and worse in civil court as you point out for the those who are hiding their involvement. Confessions under torture shouldn't be used in "civilized" countries.

I have a question.

Do we live in a civilized country? Sometimes I wonder.

Graham is now in open denial of 9/11 science

Here is some of what a representative in Senator Graham's DC office told me on October 1st in response to my further inquiry into the Senator's acknowledgment and response to the information we gave him and he willingly accepted to take a look at.

Senator Graham's representative: "He believes what was written in the 9/11 Commission and nothing more."

Jeremy Rothe-Kushel: "And so he thinks the science is wrong, the science that we handed to him? He's had scientific advisors tell him that the science is wrong?"

SGR: I'm not saying the science is wrong. I'm just saying that he believes that the planes that flew into the World Trade Centers were the only things that brought them down."

JRK: "And how does he think that this high-tech explosive made its way into the dust of the World Trade Center? Does he have an explanation for that?"

SGR: "No he does not."

JRK: "So basically he's operating in denial of science as it stands today, the leading edge of scientific proof about how our fellow citizens were killed on that day?"

SGR: "If you want to put it that way."

JRK: "And did he look at the--because we also included a packet from the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, it was 850 of them now that point out the very obvious evidence that those buildings did not just collapse from the fires. Did he look at that too?"

SGR: "Yes."

JRK: "And so he thinks all those 800 architects and engineers are wrong?"

SGR: "Uh, he doesn't think they're wrong, he just thinks--I mean he's not going to change his opinion. His opinion thus far is agreeing with the 9/11 Commission. Until something else comes out that changes that, that's what he believes."

“Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught in falsehoods school. And the one man that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.” –Plato

"We must speak the truth about terror." --George W. Bush