- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not consulted

Protesters rallied outside federal courthouses in Lower Manhattan’s Foley Square over the weekend to demonstrate against the Obama administration’s decision to try Sept. 11 terrorism suspects there, an action about which the Homeland Security secretary said she was never consulted.

Secretary Janet Napolitano testified to a Senate panel last week that White House officials did not contact her to assess the security risk of holding the trials in New York City before announcing it publicly.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican, asked the secretary, “Were you consulted about the security issues that would surround such a trial before the attorney general made that decision? And secondly, are you going to take extra measures during that trial to protect the traveling public while that is going on in New York?”

Ms. Napolitano replied, “Well, the Department of Homeland Security is part of the review team that President Obama established in connection with closing the prison part of Gitmo — not all of Gitmo, but where the detainees are. And the answer is that we have been working on a host of security issues. And I would anticipate we will be working not just with DOJ, but also with the city of New York as they prepare for the trial.”

But that didn’t answer Mrs. Hutchison’s question. “So were you consulted in the beginning, before the decision was made to bring them to New York for trial?” the Texas senator asked again.

“I was not — not in the sense of being consulted as to whether security concerns would preclude the ability to try them in New York, but I’m very comfortable with the decision to try them in New York,” Ms. Napolitano replied.

Hollywood support

Some big-name television and radio celebrities are also opposed to bringing Sept. 11 detainees to New York for trial, rather than trying them in a military tribunal.

Robert Davi, Robert Duvall, Elizabeth Hasselback, Jon Voight and Ben Stein are among a number of entertainers who signed a statement of support for the 9/11 Never Forget Coalition that organized that weekend rally.

“Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try the 9/11 mastermind and four other terrorists in a civilian court, rather than by the military justice system, should not be allowed to remain without challenge,” the statement said. “Not only does it put the national security of the United States of America at risk, but it is a travesty of our justice system. It brings additional heartache to the families and friends of the 9/11 victims, the first responders, and the concerned citizens of New York whose lives were changed forever.”

Snark

The Republican Study Committee put a healthy dose of sarcasm into its response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling that carbon dioxide is now, officially, “dangerous” to human health.

“This is good news for all those opposed to the despicable practice of breathing, but it may put the rest of humankind in an odd spot,” said the Republican committee chaired by Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican. “After all, isn’t the carbon dioxide emitted by flying Air Force One to Copenhagen identical to the carbon dioxide exhaled while addressing a joint session of Congress? If one is a danger to human health, isn’t the other?

“Every day, over 6 billion humans and an untold number of puppies, kittens and other animals produce large quantities of this ubiquitous gas. Should they be required to stop breathing? And every day, trees, flowers, shrubs and other flora use carbon dioxide to sustain their own existence. Liberals are supposedly more plant-friendly than the rest of us, so why would they try to limit a gas that is essential for plant life? If the rain forests could speak, would they be stunned by this betrayal?”

Spite

On the Senate floor on Monday, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, compared the GOP’s opposition to health care expansion plans to support for slavery.

“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ‘Slow down, stop everything, let’s start over,’ ” he said. “If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, ‘Slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.’ ”

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] washingtontimes.com

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