U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) today issued the following statement regarding Attorney General Holder's announcement that 9/11 terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be tried in a military commission at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
"I applaud the White House for momentarily putting aside the ideology of its most radical wing to listen to the majority of Americans who say that terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed cannot be tried as ordinary criminals in civilian courts. Frankly, the idea of a New York civilian trial was a non-starter -- the House CR prohibits funding for such trials. Now, we must continue to urge the president to handle all terror trials in the proper commissions and off American soil," said Vitter.
Vitter expressed concern over the attorney general's statement that he still believed his initial decision to try KSM in federal court was correct.
"I also find it troubling that Attorney General Holder appears to be making this military commission move only because of budget restrictions imposed by Congress, not because the administration believes the military commissions are where terrorists belong. And his statements saying that he would seek to repeal those restrictions make it more imperative than ever for Congress to pass stand-alone legislation like mine that will provide stability and a more permanent resolution. This is preferable to relying on Congress to attach restrictions to every spending bill or budget passed each fiscal year," added Vitter.
This Congress, Vitter cosponsored legislation that would prohibit funding for the prosecution of 9/11 conspirators in civilian courts. Last Congress, Vitter introduced legislation that prevented suspected terrorists and enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay from being tried in U.S criminal courts instead of military tribunals. Last year, he also joined 18 of his colleagues in a letter to President Obama expressing concern about his administration's decision to prosecute Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man who attempted to detonate a bomb aboard an American airliner on Christmas Day 2009, in a U.S. criminal court.