I have been reading several conservative columnists arguing against trying the 9/11 terrorist suspects in New York federal court. One of their major points seems to be that, by introducing evidence in open court that might compromise our allies’ intelligence sources, we will alienate our allies who are helping us fight terrorism.
Leaving aside the question of whether we Americans should allow our allies to dictate our judicial processes, or what protections our courts may be able to offer to foreign intelligence sources, I would like to know, have our allies in fact urged us not to try the 9/11 conspirators in civilian courts? What has their reaction to the announced trials been? The columns I have read (mainly Thomas Sowell and Paul Greenberg) have been conspicuously vague on the subject.
And by the way, have our allies generally tried captured terrorist suspects in civilian courts, or military ones? Britain last year convicted four terrorist suspects in civilian court; is that typical of our allies’ policy? If actions speak louder than words, those actions should say something about whether our allies consider military trials essential for terror suspects.