Attacking President Obama for indicting alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in civilian court, Dick Morris asserted that “the reason 9-11 happened is that Bill Clinton treated the '93 bombing of the Trade Center as a crime, not as an act of war.” Morris' claim echoed Sean Hannity's previous suggestion that documents released during the trial of the 1993 bombing mastermind “tipped off” Osama bin Laden; in fact, Attorney General Eric Holder testified that this charge is based on “misinformation” because prosecutors had the power to request that such documents be protected from release.
Morris: "[T]he reason 9-11 happened is that Bill Clinton treated the '93 WTC bombing as a crime"
Morris: "[T]he reason 9-11 happened is that Bill Clinton treated the '93 bombing of the trade center as a crime." From the January 4 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: But, here's the deal, Dick, if you wrap a bomb in your underwear -- and this is an act of terror -- with the background that you have, you've got to assume that this is an act of war.
HANNITY: But this man --
HANNITY: -- this administration doesn't see that it way.
MORRIS: Exactly. They would have us Mirandizing Germans we captured on the battlefield in World War II.
HANNITY: Well, that'll be the next thing that's on the --
MORRIS: But, you know, the other point here is the reason 9-11 happened is that Bill Clinton treated the '93 bombing of the Trade Center as a crime, not as an act of war. And now Obama is going through the exact same situation.
HANNITY: Well, look, I say this often, the 9-11 Commission report, if we got one thing out of it, they are at war with us, we're not at war with them.
Hannity previously claimed bin Laden “was tipped off that we knew his location” as a result of '93 trial. From the December 11, 2009, Hannity special, “Terror on Trial” :
HANNITY: And welcome back to this special edition of Hannity.
Now the upcoming trial of KSM and his co-conspirators will raise a whole host of legal issues, but it won't be the first time that we have put terrorists on trial.
Now, in response to the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, we tried the mastermind of the bombing and several other jihadists. So, can those trials prepare us for what is to come? Let's take a look.
[begin video clip]
HANNITY: After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the perpetrators were rounded up and put on trial in Manhattan. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's nephew Ramzi Yousef and five others were convicted and will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
Now KSM and his co-conspirators are headed to the same court. But will this trial be anything like its predecessor's? Unlike 9-11, the '93 World Trade Center bombing was never considered an act of war.
ANDREW C. McCARTHY (former assistant U.S. attorney): It's not like a bunch of people sat around a table and said: “War? Crime? War? Crime? Which is it?”
MICHAEL MUKASEY (former U.S. attorney general): The witnesses were lined up. The evidence was lined up.
HANNITY: In addition, the trials themselves revealed the peril of prosecuting terrorists in civilian court.
MUKASEY: The government generally is required in conspiracy cases to turn over lists of unindicted -- a list of unindicted co-conspirators, and it was required to do that here. Within days, that list found its way to Osama bin Laden in Khartoum.
McCARTHY: If Al Qaeda tried to have an Al Qaeda central intelligence agency, they couldn't successfully gather the banquet of information that they get by undergoing trials in civilian court.
[end video clip]
HANNITY: And in the last trial that you were involved in -- last point on this -- isn't it true that Osama bin Laden himself was tipped off that we knew his location, and that he moved as a result of the first trial that you were involved in.
McCARTHY: Well, he was certainly -- he was certainly tipped off about a lot of what we knew about Al Qaeda. In fact, the letter that Judge Mukasey talked about was the first document ever produced by the American government that was turned over to someone outside the government that had his name on it as a co-conspirator in the terror network.
In fact, Holder testified argument is based on “factual inaccuracies,” “mis-information”
Holder: Co-conspirator list was “not a classified document,” but prosecutors “could have sought a protective order” to stop its release. During a November 18, 2009, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Holder testified that there was “mis-information with regard to this whole question of this co-conspirator list” (transcript accessed via the Nexis database):
ORRIN HATCH: Now Judge Mukasey, an experienced federal judge, has always asserted that the trials that the conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing damaged national security. For example, the prosecution is compelled by the rules of discovery to provide a list of unindicted co-conspirators to the defendants.
In 1995 this list made it all the way to Sudan into the hands of Osama bin Laden.
So is the Classified Information Procedures Act -- CIPA -- really sufficient to safeguard classified information if these detainees do or do not have counsel?
HOLDER: Well it -- it has been brought -- it has been argued that the -- bringing these cases in Article Three courts will somehow reveal information I suppose that otherwise might not be revealed, or could be better protected in the military commissions. The reality is that the Information Protection Act that exists in military commissions is based on -- on CIPA that we use in Article Three courts.
And if I might, there are -- there have been some -- there's been mis-information with regard to this whole question of this co- conspirator list, and about the phone records allegation. The co- conspirator list was not a classified document. It had -- it had (inaudible) to try to protect it. Prosecutors could have sought a protective order. But that was not a classified document.
Morris also baselessly suggested administration wants to Mirandize soldiers on the battlefield
Morris suggested the Obama administration wants to Mirandize soldiers on the battlefield. During the same Hannity segment, Morris asserted that the Obama administration “would have us Mirandizing Germans we captured on the battlefield in World War II,” echoing a false claim previously promoted by media figures including Hannity, Liz Cheney, and Newt Gingrich that U.S. military personnel are administering Miranda warnings to detainees immediately upon capture.
In fact, FBI agents, not military personnel, are reading Miranda rights to detainees. According to various reports, FBI agents, not military personnel, were reading Miranda rights to detainees. On June 10, 2009, Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported that Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd stated that "[t]here has been no policy change nor blanket instruction issued for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas" and that “there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas at both Bagram and in other situations in order to preserve the quality of evidence.” Furthermore, the reading of the Miranda warning to detainees held in Afghanistan reportedly began during the Bush administration.