New York says no to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed 9/11 terrorist trial
The Obama Administration planned to move Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other accomplices accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. from their prison cells in Guantanamo to New York City for a federal criminal trial. But mounting opposition from New York politicians along with six U.S. senators may force the administration to put the plan on hold.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said about the trial, “It’s going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people . . . . “My hope is that the attorney general and the president decide to change their mind.“
Initially, Bloomberg was supportive of holding the trial in New York, however strong opposition from the New York business community and community organizations, has caused him to withdraw his support.
Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) along with five other U.S. Senators sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday, which read in part:
"We and many others have already expressed serious concerns about whether a trial in civilian court might compromise classified evidence, including revealing sources and methods used by our intelligence community. We are also very concerned that, by bringing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terrorists responsible for 9/11 to the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, only blocks away from where the Twin Towers once stood, you will be providing them one of the most visible platforms in the world to exalt their past acts and to rally others in support of further terrorism. Such a trial would almost certainly become a recruitment and radicalization tool for those who wish us harm."
For some who have always advocated military commissions for the 9/11 plotters, the demise of the Manhattan plan simply proved their point. “It just shows what a dumb idea it was in the first place,” said Senator Lindsey Graham Republican of South Carolina, in an interview Thursday.
Mr. Graham plans to reintroduce legislation in a few days to block criminal trials for the 9/11 suspects altogether. A similar bill is already pending in the House. Two Democratic senators, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Jim Webb of Virginia, joined several Republican colleagues last week in coming out against criminal trials for the Qaeda plotters, raising opponents’ hopes that Congress could make the hunt for a new 9/11 courthouse moot.
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