Two Republican lawmakers sent a letter Monday to the Pentagon demanding answers on a potential plea deal for the suspected chief architect of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to walk through the department’s ongoing prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants.
Mohammed is currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay detention camp, along with four others, in relation to his alleged central role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
But Cruz and Malliotakis’ concerns were spurred by a disclosure the Pentagon recently gave the families of 9/11 victims that they were considering “pre-trial agreements” for the suspected perpetrators.
According to The New York Times, the deals result from claims that the Central Intelligence Agency used torturous practices to obtain evidence against Mohammed and others.
They would, if agreed to by both sides, result in one or more of the suspected perpetrators admitting their guilt in order to avoid the death penalty.
“Make no mistake, any outcome short of the death penalty for the September 11th plotters would be completely unacceptable, and constitute a total failure of leadership on the part of the Department of Defense,” the GOP letter read.
Cruz and Malliotakis accused the Pentagon of pursuing the deals due to President Joe Biden’s opposition to the death penalty, noting how they previously offered a deal to the suspect in the 2019 El Paso, Texas, shooting.
“The Biden Administration’s decision here appears not to be based on the strength of the evidence or the wishes of the victims’ families, but rather a purely political choice, designed to appease the fringe left of his party,” the pair contended.
The lawmakers called on the Pentagon to answer questions regarding the potential deals no later than Sept. 15, 2023.
Luca Cacciatore ✉
Luca Cacciatore, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is based in Arlington, Virginia, reporting on news and politics.
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