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CIPA and How We Win Against Terrorism

Posted by AB on November 24, 2009

There is much concern about the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused terrorists in a federal court in New York City.  Personally, I think that those concerns are unfounded, and I think that those concerns are raised in order to scare the public, for partisan political purposes.  Most of this noise comes, not from the populous at large, but from partisan politicians and media critics of the Obama Administration.

The fact of the matter is that our justice system has tried terrorists and have been quite successful in doing so.  I did, however, accept one concern in particular.  That is the concern that classified information could be provided to the defense, and subsequently, admitted at trial.  I was concerned about that until I did a little research, and I didn’t have to look far.  An important procedural tool for the prosecution (US Government) in trials for which classified information could be requested.  The Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) is used to protect classified information from being revealed in court, or to the defense. 

There are other pieces of legislation that is used to protect sensitive information, but CIPA has been used in recent terror trials, including that of Zacharias Moussaui, who was convicted in a federal court.  The trial of the so-called 20th hijacker was praised by some of the same people who are currently fear-mongering about the KSM trial.  And to my knowledge, no classified or, otherwise sensitive information, was released to the public or to the defense. 

Again, our courts have tried many terrorism suspects, and our prisons currently hold hundreds of terrorists, none of which have escaped.  That’s another point of contention being raised by the right–holding terrorists in our supermax prisons will increase the terror risk.  Unfortunately, these same detractors said nothing about these concerns during the Bush Administration.  And that is the difference, I think.  In their eagerness to damage President Obama, these critics have forgotten that our system of justice is far superior to the messages and tactics of terrorists.

Remember when it was understood that if our nation was forced to change our ways of life, then the same terrorists who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks will have won.  Seems to me that right-wing America has surrendered to cowards like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  I will never surrender my way of life, to no one, ever.  Luckily, our nation now has the leadership that understands that the strength of the United States of America is, in a large part, due to our system of justice.  It is time for these terrorists to receive the justice that they deserve, rather that sitting in a military prison without charge.  When justice is served, the world will know that we have not surrendered, and we will have won a small, but significant battle against terrorism.

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