Jewish World Review Oct. 7, 2003 / 11 Tishrei, 5764
Why a recent ruling in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker is no cause for concern
At first blush it sounded ominous: A
federal judge this week ruling that the
government cannot seek the death penalty and
can't even argue Zacarias Moussaoui was
involved in planning or executing the September
11 attacks. But it's the right legal decision.
Apparently, a number of captured leaders have
said he wasn't involved. No one is confirming he was
supposed to be the 20th hijacker.
It's clear evidence he's a member of al Qaeda. His
actions mirrored those of some of the hijackers. When it
comes to 9/11 specifically, there just isn't proof he was
involved. And the government won't give him access to any
of the captured 9-11 planners like Abu Zubaydah, Khalid
Shaikh Mohammed, or Ramzi Binalshibh to try to prove he
wasn't involved, even though a judge instructed them to do
I think the government is doing the right thing by saying
we can't abide by that ruling. Allowing him access to his
comrades could interrupt the mind games these terrorists
are certainly enduring. I don't want that. But that doesn't
address Moussaoui's role or lack of it in 9-11. The judge
referred to Moussaoui as a remote or minor participant in al
Qaeda's war against the United States. I hope the
government recognized that maybe they overcharged him.
I hope that they don't try and appeal and they just
move forward from here.
There's nothing to worry about. They should have no
problem securing a conspiracy conviction, possibly a life
sentence. And if they do turn up evidence that he was
specifically involved in 9/11, I am certain that they will drag
him to a military tribunal where he could face death again.
Zacarias Moussaoui is an evil, dangerous man, hell bent
on destroying our country. I have no problem seeing him
die. But as long as he stays in a civilian courtroom, the rules
apply and based on the evidence and what access they can
and can't give him, the death penalty should be off the table
for now. I say that not for Moussaoui's benefit, but on
behalf of everyone else. I don't want to change the rules for
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