DANIEL VAUGHAN: No Plea Deals for the 9/11 Terrorists

 August 18, 2023

There isn't much that unites us as a country these days. But one of the few things that should is that the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers should face justice. It's a simple proposition that has not been accomplished, approaching twenty-five years after the fact. What's worse, FBI and DOJ officials under the Biden administration are now seeking input from victims' families over a possible plea deal.

The Associated Press reports, "The suspected architect of the September 11, 2001, attacks and his fellow defendants may never face the death penalty under plea agreements now under consideration." How did the AP learn about this plea deal? They obtained a letter that the DOJ and FBI sent to families seeking their input on a possible deal.

Asking families to decide their fate.

The AP continued, "'The Office of the Chief Prosecutor has been negotiating and is considering entering into pre-trial agreements,' or PTAs, the letter said. It told the families that while no plea agreement 'has been finalized, and may never be finalized, it is possible that a PTA in this case would remove the possibility of the death penalty.'"

In talking to the families who received the letter, the AP further learned, "The letter, dated August 1, was received by at least some of the family members only this week. It asks them to respond by Monday to the FBI's victim services division with any comments or questions about the possibility of such a plea agreement. The FBI had no comment Wednesday on the letter."

It's astounding that we're standing here, nearly a quarter of a century later, with no resolution for the trials of these profoundly evil men. The United States entered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and ended those after two decades. That we have a resolution of those wars, good or bad, before we've even figured out how to deal with the monsters who started this process is a complete travesty.

Biden DOJ and FBI are out of line.

There shouldn't be a surprise that the FBI and DOJ didn't have comments on this story. What can you say? After a litany of lawyers and judges, two wars, and four Presidential administrations, we're no closer to achieving even a little justice for these families and the country. What are we even doing here?

The DOJ and FBI even show a garishness with the letter's timing. Tom Von Essen wrote in the New York Post, "Even the timing of this ill-conceived idea is painful to the families, and to me personally. It very soon will be the 22nd anniversary of that terrible day in September. We all start to get invitations to memorials, masses and so many remembrances. We think about the men and women we lost all the time but even more when September 11 approaches."

The terrorism of September 11, 2001, killed nearly 3,000 innocent people and plunged the country into a war that lasted two decades, taking thousands of more lives with it. It forever changed the country's course - Congress debates security provisions related to that day nearly every year. Taking a plea deal with these monsters who negatively impacted the lives of every American is a slap in the face to justice.

The day that impacted everyone.

The New York Post Editorial Board wrote, "9/11 was an assault on the entire nation, and there is absolutely no question about guilt here. It's ridiculous that the military lawyers have dragged the case out so long, and utter madness that they're now looking for an escape hatch."

We picked these military tribunals to do a job. They've somehow managed to fail that task. I get there are some hard questions, but there's no question about the perpetrators' guilt. They deserve no deals and even less mercy. The American military justice system has not only failed justice, but they've also failed human decency in failing to achieve a verdict.

It's unbelievable that I'd have to write this sentence. But the United States should not offer nor consider any plea deals with the terrorist perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. This isn't a controversial statement, and the Biden administration should not allow its lawyers to attempt such a grievous insult to justice.

Seek justice, not plea deals.

The death penalty shouldn't be a question for these terrorists; it should be a given. Whatever qualms people can raise about the death penalty, those evaporate when terrorists like these monsters are in Guantanamo Bay.

Further, the United States government owes these families two apologies. First, they must apologize for never achieving a verdict, providing closure and justice. And second, a broad apology must go out for even sending and getting feedback for a possible plea deal.

This is not a controversial position. Believe me. I've taken and written some controversial positions. Demanding the government fulfill one of its only jobs in prosecuting terrorist scum is a very low bar to cross. The FBI and DOJ are failing that test. It's not the sole problem of Biden, but he's the head of the latest administration to tackle this issue.

The buck stops with Biden, and he could demand more of his DOJ, FBI, and military officers. Justice is not being served.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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