October 21, 2003

Moussaoui Case Study

Time.com titles their article on the case of Zacharius Moussaoui, "How the Moussaoui Case Crumbled". While it's true that the government will probably not get, or even seek a death penalty conviction in the case of the so called 20th hijacker, it seems to me that the case has hardly "crumbled".

Time acknowledges that Moussaoui has admitted to being a part of Al Qaeda, and having conspired to commit terrorist acts against the U.S., which are enough to put him in prison for life. I'd settle for that.

It doesn't seem like the judge in the case has acted irresponsibly. She will no doubt be criticized for being over-protective of the defendant's interests at the expense of the government's case, but I suppose that is preferable to the opposite course, in terms of the long term credibility and integrity of our prosecution of terrorists. The Justice Department would probably pull the case from the civil court into a military tribunal before they would agree to allow Moussaoui to depose other captured terrorists as a part of his defense, (as if the testimony of Ramzi Binalshibh or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would provide a persuasive defense anyway.)

According to the interrogations of these 9/11 "masterminds", it appears that Moussaoui was either an option of last resort for the 9/11 attacks, or was to be used in a separate unrelated terrorist attack. So if we can't link him directly to the 9/11 plot, what difference does it really make? He was one of them. He freely and proudly admits that. He came here to take flying lessons to assist in terrorist hijacking operations. He was wired money by Binalshibh just like the other 9/11 hijackers. He will never be free again to murder innocent Americans. It doesn't sound to me like our case has crumbled. The Time article is really pretty good, by the way, the misleading title notwithstanding.

Posted by dan at October 21, 2003 3:59 PM