Gaffney's fearmongering about trying KSM in U.S. undermined by past success in prosecuting terrorists

Responding to reports that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) and four others accused of being involved in the 9-11 attacks are going to be tried in New York City, Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney stated during Fox & Friends that Mohammed will “be a rock star in the prison system” who will “use our prisons as incubators for people who they're recruiting to jihad” and speculated that KSM would be “sprung” after being “lawyered up” and given “constitutional rights.” In fact, both the Clinton and Bush administrations tried and imprisoned terror suspects in our federal system without incident.

Gaffney, Fox & Friends agree bringing KSM to U.S. is “serious mistake”

From the November 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): And we're back with former assistant secretary of defense and president of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney, live from D.C. this morning. All right, Frank, so you were on our air earlier talking about the Fort Hood shootings and then, these alerts started coming in that Eric Holder, the attorney general of the United States, will make the announcement later today that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is coming to New York City. Do you find anything about the timing of this interesting? Or am I being too cynical?

GAFFNEY: Well, I don't know about the timing, all I can tell you is about the quality of the decision. I think that this is a disaster. What the president says is going to be exacting justice I think is going to be anything but, because what will happen, the moment Khalid Shaikh Mohammad and his co-conspirators, or fellow travelers, arrive in the United States is they will be imbued with a host of constitutional rights that it's almost unimaginable for most Americans that we're going to be giving to our enemies, people sworn to our destruction. They will also be immediately lawyered up with some of the best lawyers in the country who will be working to apply those rights in ways that may well get them sprung, because we're going to find that suddenly some of the techniques that were used to extract information from Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, for example waterboarding, constitutes torture in the view of judges.


BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Can you imagine here, where New York City is still a terror target, and then you bring the mastermind of 9-11 here? It's impossible to put that in perspective, I think.

GAFFNEY: Yeah, no, I think you're absolutely right. He'll be a rock star in the prison system. And one of the things that we've been learning about the, sort of, influence operations and other mechanics of what's been happening in our country by those who adhere -- as I talked about earlier, to sharia -- is they use our prisons as incubators for people to they're recruiting to jihad.


GAFFNEY: Having a guy like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed anywhere in the system I think will only enhance that effort and make this a much more dangerous country than it is today.

However, Bush administration used federal justice system to bring several terrorism suspects to justice

Zacarias Moussaoui tried, convicted, and imprisoned through federal justice system. Moussaoui was found guilty by a federal court jury for his role in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. As The New York Times reported, the jury voted “to send him to prison for the rest of his days rather than condemn him to death for the carnage of Sept. 11, 2001.” Moussaoui is serving his sentence at the ADX Florence prison, commonly referred to as Supermax, in Florence, Colorado.

“Shoe bomber” Richard Reid is serving life sentence in Colorado. On January 31, 2003, as The New York Times reported, Richard Reid pleaded guilty in federal court “to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives concealed in his shoes” and “was sentenced today to life in prison.” Reid had claimed “he was a member of Al Qaeda.” Reid is serving his sentence at the Supermax facility in Florence.

John Walker Lindh serving sentence in Indiana. As reported, on October 4, 2002, “Walker Lindh, the so-called 'Taliban American,' told U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III that he 'made a mistake by joining the Taliban' and 'had I realized then what I know now about the Taliban I would never have joined them,' ” before being sentenced for his crimes. reported that in July, Lindh pleaded “guilty to one count of supplying services to the Taliban and a criminal charge that he carried a rifle and two hand grenades while fighting on the Taliban's front lines in Afghanistan against the Northern Alliance.” Lindh was once held at the Supermax facility and is now being held at the Federal Correctional Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana.

East African embassy bombing perpetrators were tried in U.S. and held at Supermax. As the National Security Network has noted, “Wahid el-Hage, Mohammed Sadiq Odeh, Mohammed Rashed al-Owhali, and Khalfan Khamis Mohammed are all serving in ADX Florence.” The New York Times reported that the four men, who were “convicted of conspiring with Osama bin Laden in the 1998 bombings of two American Embassies in Africa,” were “moved to the most secure federal prison in the United States.” The men were indicted in 1998 under the Clinton administration and tried, convicted, and sentenced in 2001.

Clinton administration also used federal justice system to bring terrorist suspects to justice

First World Trade Center bomber, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, was tried and convicted in the federal justice system. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef was found guilty of conspiring to bomb airlines on September 5, 1996, and was convicted on November 12, 1997, of, in the words of The New York Times, “directing and helping carry out” the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The New York Times separately reported on January 9, 1998, that “Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the man who masterminded the World Trade Center bombing five years ago, was sentenced yesterday to spend life plus 240 years in prison.” Yousef reportedly is being held at the Supermax facility in Colorado.

Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman was tried and convicted in federal court and is serving sentence in federal prison. As The New York Times reported, “Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and nine other militant Muslims were convicted” on October 1, 1995, “of conspiring to carry out a terrorist campaign of bombings and assassinations intended to destroy the United Nations and New York landmarks, kill hundreds of people and force America to abandon its support for Israel and Egypt.” A January 1996 New York Times article reported: “Last October, culminating a nearly nine-month trial, a Federal jury convicted Mr. Abdel Rahman and the nine others of planning to wage a 'war of urban terrorism' against America, whose central element was to have been a cataclysmic day of terror in and around New York City: five bombs that were to blow up the United Nations Building, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and the main Federal office building in Manhattan.” Rahman was sentenced to life in prison and reportedly is serving his term at the Supermax facility in Colorado.

Hundreds of other terrorists are already imprisoned in the U.S.

There are already more than 350 terrorists in U.S. prisons; none has ever escaped. A May 29 article reported that according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, “federal facilities on American soil currently house 216 international terrorists and 139 domestic terrorists. Some of these miscreants have been locked up here since the early 1990s. None of them has escaped. At the most secure prisons, nobody has ever escaped.”

Colorado federal Supermax prison “holds some of the country's most infamous prisoners.” From an October 4 Washington Post article:

The 490-bed prison, formally known as the Administrative Maximum Facility, holds some of the country's most infamous prisoners, including Mohammed's nephew Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center; the Unabomber, Theodore J. Kaczynski; FBI agent-turned-Soviet mole Robert P. Hanssen; and Terry L. Nichols, who was convicted in the 1995 bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building. Thirty-three international terrorists are held there.

Former Navy lawyer: “There is no increased threat posed to the United States by bringing some of the detainees to the U.S. for trial.” In an October 29 NPR interview, Charles Swift, an attorney who took the case of a Guantánamo detainee to the Supreme Court in 2006, said that "[a]nyone knowledgeable about al-Qaida operations will tell you that there is no increased threat posed to the United States by bringing some of the detainees to the U.S. for trial." Swift added that "[Suspected terrorists] Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, Yaser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla were held and, in Hamdi and al-Marri's case, eventually tried in the United States without any consequence."

Wash. Post: Suspects in federal prisons face “more draconian” conditions than at Guantánamo

Wash. Post: Suspects sent to highest-security federal prisons would face “vastly more draconian” conditions than at Guantánamo. The October 4 Washington Post article, headlined “Detainees Face Severe Conditions if Moved to U.S.,” reported that detainees sent to the highest-security federal prisons would face conditions “vastly more draconian than they are at Guantanamo Bay.” From the Post article:

Based on what is known about restrictions in the country's highest-security federal prisons, Mohammed and other terrorism suspects would face profound isolation in the United States.

If sent to a facility such as the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colo., they would be sealed off for 23 hours a day in cells with four-inch-wide windows and concrete furniture. If they behave, and are allowed an hour's exercise each day in a tiny yard, they will do so alone. They will have little or no human contact except with prison officials. And the International Committee of the Red Cross, the only outside group with access to Camp 7, will no longer have contact with them.

“You will die with a whimper,” U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema told Zacarias Moussaoui, before the Sept. 11 conspirator was taken to the supermax facility in Florence to serve a life sentence. “You will never again get a chance to speak.”