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Giving Terrorists A Trial By Jury In New York City

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCAUL. Are we not in a war on terror?

Mr. GOHMERT. Some people don't want to call it that and it may be unilateral at this point, but there is a war using terror going on and we either fight it, or we will be overwhelmed by it. So we should be in it, yes.

Mr. McCAUL. My point is that that language has been taken out of the vernacular by this administration for whatever reason. We have our points as to why, but this is not being viewed as a war. What happened by the decision to bring in the mastermind of 9/11 to the very city where 3,000 Americans were murdered basically was a signal by this administration that the war on terror is over, that we are no longer going to treat terrorists as enemies of war; but, rather, we're going to go back to the Clinton administration years where we're going to treat them as criminal defendants, like Ramzi Yousef, the 1993 World Trade Center bomber, a criminal defendant. Not an act of war, but he is a criminal defendant.

By the way, Ramzi Yousef did not get the death penalty. And he went to talk to his Uncle Khalid Shiekh Mohammed about flying airplanes into buildings, and look what happened. Moussaoui did not get the death penalty because a lot of evidence was held to be inadmissible in a Federal court.

If they are true enemies of war, the best venue to try them is, as we did in World War II, by military tribunals. And the rules of evidence, as you know, Judge, I was a Federal prosecutor in the Justice Department, Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney, one of the finest in the country. But the fact is you bring them on American soil, give them all rights under the Constitution, as my good friend from Arizona stated, why does Khalid Shiekh Mohammed get constitutional rights?

Mr. GOHMERT. Reclaiming my time, that is a very important point. Why does he get American citizens' rights? He has not been to America. He masterminded this. He was captured overseas in a foreign country. He's in Guantanamo right now, and the Constitution gives us in Congress the right to set up a military tribunal commission system, which we did.

But I want to come back and I'm going to keep injecting quotes from Khalid Shiekh Mohammed's own pleading himself. This is the guy who our President and Eric Holder, the Attorney General, want to bring to the most densely populated area in America. On page 4 he said, ``In God's book he ordered us to fight you everywhere we find you, even if you were inside the holiest of all holy cities, the Mosque in Mecca and the holy city of Mecca even during sacred months.'' He said, ``In God's book,'' verse 9, Al-Tawbah, ``then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them and seize them and besiege them and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush.'' This is the guy they want to yield American citizens' rights to who will not be able to----

Mr. McCAUL. If the gentleman would yield, what was the first thing that Khalid Shiekh Mohammed said when he was apprehended in Islamabad? It was two things.

Mr. GOHMERT. Take me to New York.

Mr. McCAUL. One, I want an attorney, and, number two, Take me to New York. And you know what? President Obama and this administration gave him his wish.

I just want to end my comments by saying you and I have tried cases. This is going to be a circus, a show trial of the maximum. The motions to transfer venue, the motions to suppress the evidence, none of the information we got from Khalid Shiekh Mohammed using water-boarding, which has protected American lives, which, by the way, this administration wants to investigate and put those CIA and intelligence people in jail. The discovery alone, as the gentleman from Arizona stated, will keep

this thing alive for years to come, will involve classified information that will not be properly protected as it would in the military court.

Finally, on the security issue, I think the gentleman from Texas is right: this will become a Mecca for the terrorists, not only to al Qaeda but homegrown, radicalized homegrown, whether Mr. Moussaoui is homegrown, radicalized, or not, people like him will come to New York to blow buildings up and to prey on the jury perhaps or the judges.


Mr. SHADEGG. So we're going to read them their Miranda rights? We're going to provide lawyers to them out on the battlefield?

Mr. McCAUL. Precisely. And what came out in a shocking story that has not been told enough, in my view, was that FBI agents were there at the detention facilities reading them the Miranda rights. This is where this administration has shifted towards treating them as criminal defendants in Afghanistan, with full rights of the U.S. Constitution in Afghanistan. And I believe it is a sad day for America when we bring this mastermind of 9/11 to the very city where he killed 3,000 Americans.


Mr. McCAUL. As the gentleman knows if he will yield, a criminal defense lawyer in a civilian court is going to use discovery at every opportunity to embarrass the United States of America and to blame America first for the acts of a terrorist, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. And what concerns me the most is that they're going to make a mockery of our criminal justice system here in the United States and use it as a propaganda weapon in what I still refer to as this war on terror. This was one of the biggest mistakes this President has made. The decision to close Guantanamo Bay--I saw Khalid Sheikh Mohammed down in Guantanamo; it was one of the most chilling things I've ever seen, as he prayed, bowed over his prayer rug, to Mecca. We haven't broken his spirit.

And this administration again just granted him his wish. He gets his lawyer now, and he gets to come to New York City, just like his nephew, Ramsay Yusef did, who, by the way, did not get the death penalty. And as I close, as I move on, I sincerely hope that--this was a huge mistake--but I sincerely hope that this man is given the ultimate punishment so he can--not only here on earth but move on to the next world.


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