Friday, March 17, 2006

There can be only one

In the standard conservative line of argument that whatever happens vindicates decisions of George W. Bush, Friday's Wall Street Journal editorialises that the likely collapse of the death penalty case against Zacarias Moussaoui -- due to government incompetence -- shows that he should have been tried in a Gitmo-style military tribunal. You'd think though that they could at least be clear on what he'd be charged with:

In the more than four years since he was charged with six counts of conspiracy related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the "20th hijacker" has mocked the U.S. criminal justice system.

The 20th? Then who's this guy? --

The young Saudi said he had arrived in Orlando to meet a friend. But when pressed for details by an alert immigration inspector, "his story fell apart," says one law-enforcement official. The inspector put the Saudi on a flight out of the country. That incident, in late August 2001, was fateful. The FBI has since concluded that the would-be visitor, who carries the common Saudi name of al-Qahtani, may well have been the elusive "20th hijacker" who was supposed to be aboard United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in the fields of Pennsylvania on the morning of 9/11.

The one thing we do know about Moussaoui is that his detention, which occurred before 9/11, did generate the memorandum "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly." This memo was never acted upon by senior national security officials in the administration of George W. Bush.

No comments: