Defense department announces charges against KSM, 4 others, in 9/11 attacks

Sheesh. It's only been a decade. Why the rush?


The United States on Wednesday announced charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, accused of orchestrating the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and four others accused of involvement in the plot.

"If convicted, the five accused could be sentenced to death," the Defense Department said in a statement.

Along with Mohammed, the others are Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin 'Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi.

The charges allege that the five are "responsible for the planning and execution of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., resulting in the killing of 2,976 people," the statement said.

The five accused are charged with "terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, and destruction of property in violation of the law of war. The convening authority has referred all charges to a joint trial."

The convening authority, the Office of Military Commissions, referred charges to a capital military commission, the department said.

"Each of the five accused have been provided, in addition to their detailed defense counsel, learned counsel, possessing specialized knowledge and experience in death penalty cases, to assist them in their defense," the Pentagon said.

That KSM is still alive and kicking more than a decade after the attacks he masterminded is one of the saddest episodes in our legal history. Making his trial a political football - and the inept manner in which the Obama administration has handled the matter - has been a travesty of justice. Not for the animal KSM but for the families of the lost.

For KSM, we should have followed Rooster Cogburn's offer of a deal to an outlaw 10 years ago: "I'll get you a fair trial and a fine hanging."