Officer calls Sept. 11 cases tainted
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Los Angeles Times
Posted: June 18th, 2008
When Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his alleged collaborators in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks appear before the war crimes tribunal here today, ousted chief prosecutor Col. Morris D. Davis will not be celebrating. Davis, who has spent half of his life in the military justice system, still considers it "the most ethical process in the world." But the Pentagon's push to prosecute the so-called 9/11 Five is tainted, in his view, by political intrusions, illegal influence applied by more-senior officers and reliance on evidence obtained through coercion or torture. Davis drew the wrath of many in the Pentagon hierarchy when he objected last fall to pressures from Bush administration political appointees to prosecute Mohammed, known in intelligence circles as KSM, ahead of other war crimes suspects whose cases were already researched and on whom vital evidence was declassified. Unless the evidence prosecutors have against Mohammed and his codefendants is declassified, much of their prosecution will be conducted behind closed doors, depriving the American media and public of a clear view of the proceedings, he says. Davis ran afoul of superiors ... when he advised his prosecutors against relying on evidence obtained through waterboarding and other interrogation techniques that have been deemed coercive or tantamount to torture. Davis resigned after political appointees at the Pentagon rejected his judgment on the choice of cases to be tried in the months leading up to this November's election, as well as his advice against building prosecutions on coerced and potentially unreliable confessions.