Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, on Friday sent a letter to President Obama, urging his administration to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged architect of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, through a military tribunal rather than in open court.
In the correspondence, Buchanan cites the trial of Ahmed Ghailani — who was recently convicted for his role in the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Africa — as justification for trying Mohammed in a military tribunal, saying he was “intensely disappointed” when Ghailani was convicted on only one charge and acquitted on 279 others.
Buchanan doesn’t mention that the judge in the Ghailani case, in the words of The New York Times, “barred prosecutors from using an important witness against Mr. Ghailani because the government had learned about the man through Mr. Ghailani’s interrogation while he was in C.I.A. custody, where his lawyers say he was tortured.”
The Times called the decision “a key ruling that may have seriously damaged its chances” of convicting Ghailani on all of his 280 charges.
“The federal government’s highest priority must be protecting the American people from both domestic and foreign attack,” Buchanan writes. “An important component of that federal responsibility is making sure that foreign enemies are caught, successfully tried and appropriately punished. It appears that civilian courts are not up to that task, but I firmly believe that military tribunals can meet these objectives.”
In June, Buchanan tweeted that “Terrorists don’t deserve Constitutional Rights” and that they should be tried through military tribunals.
Buchanan’s letter, in full: