The Biden administration is weighing a plea deal with 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 21 years after he orchestrated the worst terror attack in American history.
The deal, reported by CBS, would let Mohammed and four other terrorists escape the death penalty for their roles in killing nearly 3,000 people.
Biden considering plea
The plea deal floated by military prosecutors would also allow the terrorists to receive medical treatment for torture they experienced in CIA captivity.
Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles “Chic” Burlingame was a pilot on one of the planes that al-Qaeda hijacked, called the reported plea an “outrage.”
“The families are outraged,” she said. “They don’t want closure, they want justice.”
Mohammed has been awaiting trial at Guantanamo Bay since 2006 alongside Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Walid bin Attash and Ammar al-Baluchi. The terrorists’ lawyers blame the United States’ use of torture for the delay, saying it tainted evidence.
“The United States government failed all of us after Sept. 11 in their decisions to use illegal techniques and illegal programs … In doing so, it rather corrupted all the legal processes,” human rights lawyer Alka Pradhan said.
Biden moves on to new “threats”
The group 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows said that a plea could provide some closure after years of waiting for justice. But Burlingame says the terrorists should pay the ultimate price for the lives they took.
“I will not have closure as long as there is any possibility for some future president to commute their sentences or trade them away for something political that they want from some other country. That’s a very real possibility because it’s now been done over and over and over again.”
She expressed concern that “we’ve reached a point in our country where we just don’t seem to have … the courage of our convictions.”
News of the plea arrangements comes as Joe Biden used the anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday to launch a thinly veiled attack on “MAGA Republicans” who Biden says are a threat to “democracy.”
Biden’s chief of the Department of Homeland Security, an agency that was created by the George W. Bush administration in response to 9/11, similarly said that the government has shifted focus from foreign terrorism to combating so-called “domestic extremists.”