A week ago, Barack Obama claimed that the Clinton-era criminal prosecution of terror suspects was the right approach. He cited the imprisonment of the first World Trade Center bombers, eight years before 9/11.
Advocating a return to a law-enforcement strategy to fighting terrorism, Obama stated, "In previous terrorist attacks - for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in US prisons, incapacitated."
Obama's assertion may come as a surprise to the families of the victims of 9/11.
Because it was treated as a criminal matter, the 1993 WTC bombing investigation was hamstrung from the outset. It was painfully slow and hampered by the need to acquire appropriate and admissible evidence for the U.S. court system.
As a result, [US officials] didn't know that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were responsible for the attack until 1997 - too late... to grab [Bin Laden] when Sudan offered to send him to [the U.S.] in 1996. Clinton and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger turned down the offer, [stating they] had no grounds on which to hold him or to order his kidnapping or death.
Obama's approach is prosecution.
The post-9/11 strategy -- that has worked for seven years -- is proactive disruption of terrorist networks.
How will Obama's Justice Department gather appropriate evidence if a nuclear device detonates in, say, New York?
It's a pity the mainstream media can't ask him simple questions like that one.
If one of my family members had been killed in the terrorist attacks, I can't tell you how upset I'd be over Obama's pathetic, hyper-partisan posturing. I'm upset enough as it is.
Update: Don Surber:
[Obama] told ABC News: "The first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in US prisons, incapacitated."
Nice sound bite, except for the part where that is totally untrue. The New York Post quoted U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the case:"While the government managed to prosecute many people responsible for the 1993 WTC bombing, many also escaped prosecution because of the limits on civilian criminal prosecution.
"Some who contributed to the attack, like Khalid Sheik Mohammed, continued to operate freely because they were beyond the system's capacity to apprehend. Abdul Rahman Yasin was released prematurely because there was not sufficient evidence to hold him - he fled to Iraq, where he was harbored for a decade (and has never been apprehended)."
And the follow-up is that they were even able to operate from behind bars.
Lefty icon lawyer Lynne Stewart passed on to other terrorists messages from the few attackers who were imprisoned. Cindy Sheehan praised her even after Stewart was convicted.
So much for the criminal justice system working.
Update II: Scott Johnson
Speaking without a text in front of him, Barack Obama betrays a troubling lack of knowledge on important issues - such as the law and terrorism...
The jihadist activities of Abdel-Rahman from behind bars, plus the collaboration of his attorney, illustrate the challenges President Bush sought to confront fairly with the arrangements for the detention and isolation of captured enemy combatants in Guantanamo.
Hat tip: Dick Morris and Eileen McGann