The following is a fact-check for the 5/9/2010 episode of Meet the Press: (transcript)

KATTY KAY (BBC) | Pres. Bush tried hundreds of terror suspects in civilian courts and wasn’t criticized | TRUE

MS. KAY: …some of, some of this is intensely political. Look, President Bush tried hundreds of terror suspects in civilian courts. He tried Zacarias Moussaoui, he tried Richard Reid in civilian courts. Nobody ever criticized his administration, either from the left or the right, for using civilian courts.

President Bush’s administration did try hundreds of terror suspects in civilian courts, but the exact number is up for debate. Multiple sources report different numbers. For instance, The New York Times reports that in the eight years of the Bush administration, at least 319 convictions for terrorism or terrorism-related crimes were done through the civilian justice system. The New York Times came up with this number from a 2009 budget request made by the Bush administration’s Department of Justice, and when contacted by, a media relations officer from DOJ could not verify the number. According to, NYU’s Terrorism Trial Report Card only identifies 174 individuals who were convicted in civilian courts for terrorism or national security violations. And according to Human Rights First, 190 suspected terrorists were prosecuted in civilian courts. Katty Kay was correct in stating that hundreds of terror suspects were tried in civilian courts by the Bush administration, but we don’t have an exact number.

We were unable to find any substantial criticism of the Bush administration’s civilian court trials of terrorism suspects. We deem Ms. Kay’s statement TRUE.