Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Moussaoui Mess
The hits just keep on coming in the Moussaoui death penalty trial. In this edition how the FBI agent, who is a witness for the prosecution by the way, labeled the governments actions in investigating Moussaoui "criminally neglegent":
Prosecutors had called Harry Samit, an agent in the FBI's Minneapolis field office, to bolster their contention that Moussaoui deserves the death penalty because had he confessed when first arrested, "the FBI would have raised 'alarm bells' and could have stopped the Sept. 11 attacks," the WP says. On cross-examination, Samit admitted that even though Moussaoui wouldn't talk, he was sure the Moroccan was working with others to hijack a plane—there was even a suggestion that one might be flown into the World Trade Center, according to the NYT—and said that he raised the possibility to his superiors more than 70 times. Samit says his bosses didn't care and just wanted to "run out the clock" and deport Moussaoui. Samit was a key prosecution witness, but his testimony "might have backfired on the government," the LAT says, putting it a mildly
The prosecution is really trying desperately to fit a round peg in a small hole. Moussaoui's actions clearly don't rise to the legal standards of the death penalty. We've never (yet) executed someone for not informing on fellow criminals. The case is flawed, continues to deteriorate, and makes the Justice Department look like fools while (again) exposing law enforcements actions in the pre-911 days as lackadasical.