Military prosecutors recommended a new set of charges for alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shiek Mohammed and four alleged accomplices.
The men would face a minimum of eight charges each including conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, hijacking aircraft, and terrorism. They will be tried under a military tribunal, rather than in the civilian trials that the Obama adminstration sought but abandoned in the face of unified Congressional opposition.
All of the alleged terrorists are imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, where charges were leveled against the four accomplices in 2008. Those charges were dropped when the administration attempted to relocate the trial to federal court, a move that provoked an uproar amongt opponents who cited security concerns, cost and the affront to victims of holding a trial in lower Manhattan, near ground zero.
Civil libertarians have just as vociferously opposed military tribunals, which they say establish a two-tiered justice system that deprives terrorism suspects of due process. Military tribunals are more permissive in allowing evidence obtained under torture, a lightning rod in how the U.S. treats terrorism suspects that will likely surface during the trials.
Mohammed, or KSM as he is known in intelligence parlance, is believed to have been the central planner spearheading 9/11. The men charged as his co-conspirators are Sheikh Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, and Mustapha Ahmed al-Hawsawi.