American Civil Liberties Union
March 16, 2010
Tells House Subcommittee That Final Administration Decision On Trials Still “Weeks Away”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON – In testimony before a House Appropriations Subcommittee today, Attorney General Eric Holder defended the merits of his November decision to try the 9/11 defendants in federal criminal court, but nevertheless stated that the administration may still consider using the untested military commissions, instead. Holder said a final decision regarding the 9/11 suspects was “weeks away.”
Since 9/11, the military commissions have resulted in three terrorism-related convictions. Federal courts, on the other hand, have produced over 300.
The American Civil Liberties Union strongly believes that the appropriate place to try terrorism suspects is in federal criminal court, and that the military commissions are unable to deliver effective and certain justice and should be shut down for good.
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
“Attorney General Holder made the correct decision when he determined that our federal criminal courts are the best and most effective choice for prosecuting the cases of the 9/11 defendants, and it is encouraging that he stood behind his decision today. The minority in Congress who are pushing for the administration to use the illegitimate military commissions should be reminded that the military commissions are untested, ineffective and contrary to American values and the rule of law. Prosecuting these cases in federal court allows us to pursue real justice in a competent and proven system that can deliver reliable and trustworthy results.”
More information on trying the 9/11 suspects in federal criminal courts can be found at: www.aclu.org/national-security/terrorism-cases-should-be-tried-federal-court
Revealed: Ashcroft, Tenet, Rumsfeld warned 9/11 Commission about ‘line’ it ’should not cross’
By Sahil Kapur
March 17, 2010
Senior Bush administration officials sternly cautioned the 9/11 Commission against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, according to a document recently obtained by the ACLU.
The notification came in a letter dated January 6, 2004, addressed by Attorney General John Ashcroft, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and CIA Director George J. Tenet. The ACLU described it as a fax sent by David Addington, then-counsel to former vice president Dick Cheney.
In the message, the officials denied the bipartisan commission’s request to question terrorist detainees, informing its two senior-most members that doing so would “cross” a “line” and obstruct the administration’s ability to protect the nation.
“In response to the Commission’s expansive requests for access to secrets, the executive branch has provided such access in full cooperation,” the letter read. “There is, however, a line that the Commission should not cross — the line separating the Commission’s proper inquiry into the September 11, 2001 attacks from interference with the Government’s ability to safeguard the national security, including protection of Americans from future terrorist attacks.”
The 9/11 Commission, officially called the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was formed by President Bush in November of 2002 “to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks” and to offer recommendations for preventing future attacks.