Trump Calls Terrorism Trial Process ‘a Joke,’ Despite Hundreds of Convictions


Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security, was quoted in a New York Times article about terror suspect Saypullo Saipov who plowed into pedestrians in a rented pickup truck, killing eight people and injuring eleven.

It is worth noting that attackers in deadly terrorism plots in the United States are “rarely caught alive,” said Karen Greenberg, the director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University School of Law.

The attackers were killed in deadly shootings believed to be inspired by Islamic extremists in 2002 at Los Angeles International Airport; in 2015 in Chattanooga, Tenn., and in San Bernardino, Calif.; and in 2016 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Suspects who do survive their attacks have been dealt with swiftly and severely in federal courts.

About 87 percent of resolved terrorism cases in the decade after the 2001 attacks resulted in convictions, with an average sentence of 14 years in prison, according to the Center on Law and Security at New York University.

And cases related to the Islamic State — from March 1, 2014, when the Justice Department secured its first indictment of a suspect with links to the terrorist group, to Aug. 1, 2017 — had even higher conviction and sentencing rates: 100 percent and 14.5 years.

“Everybody gets convicted eventually,” Ms. Greenberg said.

Far more important to the legitimacy of the justice system than harsh sentences or conviction rates, she said, are transparency, due process and a fair trial: “I think we do it really well.”


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