The Biden administration is close to reaching a shameful plea deal that could exclude the death penalty for five Islamic terrorists charged with coordinating the 2001 attacks, sources told Judicial Watch during a recent trip to the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where the jihadists are incarcerated. For years Judicial Watch has traveled to the U.S. Naval base in southeast Cuba to observe the military tribunal trials of 9/11 terrorists and others, including USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Judicial Watch also covers all the hearings held by the Obama-created parole panel known as the Periodic Review Board via satellite video feed at the Pentagon. In the last year alone, the panel has approved the release of four one-time “forever prisoners” previously denied parole because they were considered a threat to national security.
During a recent weeklong visit to Gitmo, Judicial Watch learned from various sources that the new plea deal is on the verge of becoming official. Since the middle of September news reports have circulated saying that the administration is planning to get rid of the death penalty for the five key terrorists involved in planning 9/11. The men—plot mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ammar al-Baluchi, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Ramzi Binalshibh and Walid bin Attash—have been jailed at the top security compound since 2006. Under the arrangement the men would serve life in prison, and some are expected to negotiate lesser sentences, which would only add to the outrage of the Biden administration’s behind-the-scenes pact. Back in 2009 the Obama administration considered changing the law for military commissions at Gitmo to allow terrorists facing the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.
During Judicial Watch’s recent trip to Gitmo, the commission held two closed hearings and therefore no observers were permitted to attend. However, defense attorneys and others heavily involved with the legal proceedings shared updates on the status of the cases. Specifically, al-Baluchi’s defense team expressed tremendous optimism that the Biden administration’s recent directive involving settlement discussions should act to expedite cases. “Taking the death penalty off the table should significantly reduce the length of the proceedings,” according to one key defense team member. Another representative of the terrorism defense seemed quite confident that an outcome could be much closer once the death penalty is no longer a factor. Various sources confirmed that key plea proposals were “under active consideration at high levels of the government.”
It is worth noting that the U.S. government is also allowing 9/11 architect KSM to get away with the barbaric murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was 38 years old when Islamic terrorists kidnapped and beheaded him in Pakistan two decades ago. Earlier this year military commission prosecutors, for unknown reasons, decided not to pursue the Pearl charges against KSM, even though he has proudly admitted murdering the journalist. Five years after Pearl’s gruesome death, KSM told a U.S. Military tribunal at Gitmo that he killed the reporter. “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan,” KSM said in a 2007 Pentagon transcript of the hearing. “For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the internet holding his head.” In the hearing KSM also revealed that he participated in more than 30 attacks. Nevertheless, without any type of public announcement or explanation, the Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Military Commissions quietly filed a motion earlier this year indicating that KSM will get away with Pearl’s murder.
Once at a high of nearly 800, the Gitmo population is down to 36 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists. Dozens of captives freed from the compound over the years have reengaged in terrorist activity. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has for years documented it in reports and most recently revealed that of 729 detainees released from Gitmo since the prison opened two decades ago, 125 have been confirmed to reengage in terrorism, though the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) put the figure at 130. In its latest update, the ODNI discloses that the whereabouts of 69 former Gitmo detainees that the government is certain returned to terrorism is unknown. “Based on trends identified during the past 17 years, we assess that some detainees currently at GTMO will seek to reengage in terrorist or insurgent activities after they are transferred,” the latest ODNI report states, reiterating language used in past reports.