GOP Senate Leader Pledges to Block Funding for 9/11 Trials

Created: February 03, 2010 11:52 | Last updated: July 31, 2020 00:00

In an address to the Heritage Foundation filled with unsubstantiated assertions about the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the GOP Senate leader, made one concrete promise: If the Obama administration moves forward with its plans to try the 9/11 conspirators in civilian courts, “We will do everything they can do deny them the funds to do it. That is my pledge.”

That was about the only substantive remark McConnell made. The speech was filled with assertions that the intelligence community lost access to information from would-be Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on the very day when the intelligence community is saying the exact opposite and Abdulmutallab is cooperating. (He attempted to square that circle with a baseless assertion that Mirandizing Abdulmutallab cost the Yemeni security forces valuable information for the past several weeks.) McConnell blasted Abdulmutallab’s FBI interrogators for ostensibly not having any “foreign language skills” — which is an evidence-free assertion as well — even though Abdulmutallab speaks English. McConnell called the civilian trial of Zacharias Moussaoui a “disaster,” even though it ended in Moussaoui being sentenced to life in prison. He used Attorney General Eric Holder as a bogeyman, saying it was inappropriate for Holder to make decisions about trying al-Qaeda operatives in federal court given the military implications of that decision, even though Defense Secretary Robert Gates — a Bush appointee — endorsed Holder as the “most qualified” official to make that determination yesterday. He said the Bush administration made a “mistake” by trying terrorists in civilian courts, even though he didn’t raise a word of objection at the time.

Oh, and he even managed to screw up a joke about the Obama administration’s mantra being “ready, fire, aim” by saying it was “ready, aim, fire.”