12/21/2005

Hiding information that could have prevented 9/11 a capital offense ?

More from 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser - great catch!!! -- law
Zacarias Moussaoui-- is being tried for the death penalty because he lied to the FBI in August 2001.. the argument goes, had Moussaoui not lied to the FBI, the FBI would have been able to thwart the 9/11 attacks... we are putting him to death for his intentional withholding of information that would have prevented the attacks.

If this is to be the threshold to put an individual to death--the intentional withholding of information that could have prevented the 9/11 attacks--there are arguably many individuals (quite alarmingly some of whom are in our own government) who could meet that requirement and potentially be tried for death . Will the Moussaoui penalty phase hearing set such a precedent?

Given, it will be argued that Moussaoui had the mens rea--in other words, the state of mind to commit the act in that he knew that such withholding of information might necessarily cause the death of people. But, let me ask a question. If a former DCI made a decision to intentionally withhold information from the FBI--information about two known al Qaeda killers who had already participated in the USS Cole bombing that killed 17 sailors and were currently inside the United States planning terrorist acts, namely the 9/11 attacks--does that not meet the mens rea requirement? How could someone like a former DCI deny that his withholding of such information from the FBI about these two terrorists for 18 months would not likely contribute to at least one death? Such a DCI would have known by January 01 that 17 sailors had died compliments of these two killers--al Mihdhar and al Hazmi. Should such a DCI be tried for the death penalty, too?

Read more at www.commondreams.org/vi...

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