SCOTUS Rejects Moussaoui Appeal

The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by suspected 9/11 conspiratory Zacarias Moussaoui. Moussaoui had argued that testimony from other al-Qaeda detainees would exonerated him, and was demanding access to them.

The Moussaoui case is an interesting one. There’s no doubt that Zacarias Moussaoui was an agent of al-Qaeda – he’s admitted as such. The fact that he was arrested at a flight school in Eagan is chilling. However, the government’s case against him seems to be conflicted, at least from what information is available. It seems clear that Moussaoui was somehow involved in a plot by al-Qaeda involving aircraft, but it doesn’t seem that there’s significant evidence tying him to the 9/11 attacks themselves. Despite the fact that he was recieving money from the same al-Qaeda paymasters, he doesn’t seem to have been in the same general circles as the other hijackers.

I fail to see why Moussaoui was not tried in a military tribunal. He was clearly an enemy combatant, he was clearly engaging in an act of terrorism, and he clearly falls under the jurisdiction of a military tribunal as set out in Ex parte Quirin, et al. A military tribunal would be able to more fairly weigh the evidence as it stands without the current concerns from security and Moussaoui would be treated like the unlawful enemy combatant as he is.

Terrorism is not a crime, it’s an act of war, and given Moussaoui position as an admitted al-Qaeda footsoldier, he shouldn’t be treated as if he were a conventional suspect in a conventional case. If anything, the problems of the Moussaoui case illustrate why using the court system to fight terrorism is the wrong tool for the job — an act of war deserves a military response, and an unlawful enemy combatant like Moussaoui has waived his rights to be treated like an ordinary criminal.

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