You have got to hand it to Eric Holder. Just when it seemed that he and his gaggle of Guantanamo defense bar cronies at the Justice Department couldn’t make a bigger hash-up of their effort to score political points by trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his friends in civilian courts in the United States, they do something even more preposterous than selecting Lower Manhattan as the venue.
According to an article posted by Politico
, “The courthouse in Shanksville, Pa., is emerging as the most likely alternative to New York because it is the only one outside a densely populated urban area.”
Presumably, what the reporter meant was that Shanksville is the only one of the communities attacked (albeit unintentionally) by Mohammed’s minions on 9/11 that is outside of an urban area.
There’s a small problem with this idea. According to a resident of the area, the formidable Sgt. Tim Sumner of the 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America, Shanksville (population 243) has no courthouse.
The closest one is in the town of Somerset, with a population of about 30,000 people.
Needless to say, that any such county courthouse would have to undergo considerable improvements to make it a facility in which some of the most dangerous terrorists on earth could be safely and securely tried.
Now, Politico notes that $200 million has been requested to upgrade the previous site in New York City, but goes on to report that according to Sen. Susan Collins, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, that money was not going to be forthcoming for trying Mohammed in Manhattan.
It’s not clear that a lesser amount would be available for such a trial elsewhere, either. Certainly, not if the local congressman, Rep. Bill Shuster, has any say on the matter. Upon learning of the rumors about the trial coming to his district, he immediately — and understandably — announced his adamant opposition.
Maybe Politico got this leak wrong. Certainly, its reporter didn’t know what the lay of the land is in that part of Pennsylvania. But given the Holder Justice Department’s past and continuing, hapless behavior with respect to holding, interrogating and trying terrorist detainees, one could be forgiven for thinking this all sounds right coming from the Obama team’s Keystone Kops.
One can only pray that legislators who have already taken a dim view of the conduct of this attorney general will be reinforced in their belief, widely shared by the American people, that the only place to hold and try Mohammed and his ilk is Gitmo.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and host of the nationally syndicated program “Secure Freedom Radio.”
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