Security States

On The Timing of a Trial in the 9/11 Case

By Wells Bennett
Monday, October 28, 2013, 2:56 PM

We're a long ways way off from a trial in United States v. Mohammed et. al.  

That's the essence of my Security States piece, which went up today.  It begins:

So when will the 9/11 case go to trial, anyway? I have observed the Guantanamo proceedings for a while now, and hear the question a lot—from supporters and critics of the military prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four accused co-conspirators.

As is well-known, Mohammed and company were not swiftly charged after their apprehensions, in 2002 and 2003. Instead they were detained and interrogated for years, and subjected, at secret foreign prisons, to “enhanced interrogation techniques” by the CIA. Only after transfer to Guantanamo did the Bush Administration take a first crack at prosecution before a military commission, in 2008. But the incoming Obama Administration halted that upon taking office, as it mulled its policy for terrorism trials. That led to the unsealing of a New York grand jury indictment.  A deluge of political pushback followed, though, along with Congress’s dumb decision, in 2011, essentially to block the United States from bringing detainees to the mainland for trial. His hands tied, Attorney General Eric Holder, who had championed the civilian forum, chucked the federal prosecution and begrudgingly handed the case over for a third go-round—again before a Guantanamo military commission, this one with procedural enhancements added by Congress.