Rep. Gohmert: ‘We Don’t Have Forensic Wagons To Gather Evidence on the Battlefield’ for Civil Court Trials of Terrorists

November 25, 2009 - 11:53 AM
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) told CNSNews.com that U.S. troops do not have "forensic wagons to pull up on the battlefield when we've got people in harm's way" to collect evidence as is done for civil court cases.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Sept. 11 mastermind

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind, shown shortly after his capture in Pakistan in this March 1, 2003 photo. He and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees will be sent to New York to face trial in a civilian federal court. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who opposes the Obama administration’s decision to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in a civilian court instead of a military tribunal, told CNSNews.com that U.S. troops do not have “forensic wagons to pull up on the battlefield when we’ve got people in harm’s way” to collect evidence as is done for civil court cases.
 
“[T]o require the same types of standards of a civilian court to be applied to a war setting where our guys, our men and women are in harms way, is to require our military to lose their lives to gather evidence like DNA, finger prints,” said Gohmert at a Nov. 17 press conference. “We don’t have forensic wagons to pull up on the battlefield when we’ve got people in harm’s way.”
 
At the press conference, held to discuss Republican criticism of big government, CNSNews.com asked the following question: “You mentioned the Obama administration’s handling of terrorism and national security issues. The Obama administration has announced it will try the alleged mastermind behind the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in a military commission. Do you believe he can get a constitutionally legitimate and fair trial in a military commission?”
 
In response, Rep. Gohmert said: “To say that these guys cannot get a fair trial is to say that anyone who is tried in a military court does not get a fair trial and that is simply not true. When I was at Fort Benning for four years, there were acquittals there.”
 

 
“Those were done under the same UCMJ [Uniform Code of Military Justice], so certainly they can get a fair trial,” said Gohmert, “but it’s a different type trial when you are talking about someone who is not a U.S. citizen. And to require the same types of standards of a civilian court to be applied to a war setting where our guys, our men and women are in harm’s way, is to require our military to lose their lives to gather evidence like DNA, finger prints. We don’t have forensic wagons to pull up on the battlefield when we’ve got people in harm’s way.”
 
“There’s a different standard for a reason,” he said. “And this administration and those in Congress who would encourage this have so little regard for the people in New York City that they would bring terrorists to the most densely populated areas in this country, and it is outrageous.”
 
Gohmert, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and former Texas appeals court judge, said the decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammad in civilian court derives from the Obama administration’s “desire to look good” in foreign countries.
 
“They’re [The Obama administration] putting a desire to look good in foreign countries ahead of the oath we take to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic and it comes back to the pink slip issue,” he said.
 
“[W]e have some people who are in Washington, both in the executive and legislative branch who have deaf ears to what Americans are saying,” said Gohmert. “We want you, they say, to be more concerned about your oath to follow the Constitution and to protect us than to go feel good in front of some liberal at some foreign cocktail party. The obligation is here in America and that’s why people are fed up with it.”