Senator Kent Conrad’s (D - N.D.) office insists that his words were “taken out of context” when he talked to a CNS News reporter about his thoughts on trying professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civil court.:
CNSNews.com asked Conrad: “We’re going to have a civilian trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. If our troops—the evidence against him is going to be found in Afghanistan, there on the battlefield—if our troops need to enter a house and they think that there’s evidence there, should they have to establish probable cause and get a search warrant from a judge first?”
Conrad said: “You’re not being serious about these questions, are you?”
CNSNews.com: “[Yes], in a civilian trial. If I was on trial or you were on trial, that would have to be [done].”
Conrad responded, “We have tried terrorists in our courts and done so very successfully in the past and that is our system. So if people don’t believe in our system, maybe they ought to go somewhere else. I believe in America.”
Mr. Conrad’s final remark remains the kicker in this back and forth. Is he really saying critics (including 9/11 families) of staging the 9/11 terror trials in New York should “go somewhere else?” The Washington Times Water Cooler received a written response from the senator’s spokesman Sean Neary.:
The Senator’s comments were taken out of context. He was defending the American rule of law and the need finally to hold the 9/11 attackers to account. Our courts have successfully prosecuted terrorism suspects in the past, and Senator Conrad believes they can do so again in the case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Senator Conrad also noted that military tribunals will continue to be used where appropriate, which he fully supports.
The CNS reporter misconstrued the Senator’s following comment, that “if people don’t believe in our system, maybe they ought to go somewhere else.” The “they” the Senator is referring to, are people advocating that detainees be set free or returned to their country of origin without facing a trial.
Senator Conrad’s office did not address the controversial issues surrounding the the idea of having the trials in New York City, like compromising national security issues, the trial turning into a circus, and the legal snafu of mirandizing prisoners who are captured overseas on the battlefield. These issues have yet to be resolved, and most supporters of trying these individuals have failed to give straight answers.