White House asks Justice Department to look for other places to hold 9/11 terror trial


Originally Published:Thursday, January 28th 2010, 8:04 PM
Updated: Thursday, January 28th 2010, 9:14 PM

Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after his arrest in March 2003.

The White House ordered the Justice Department Thursday night to consider other places to try the 9/11 terror suspects after a wave of opposition to holding the trial in lower Manhattan.

The dramatic turnabout came hours after Mayor Bloomberg said he would "prefer that they did it elsewhere" and then spoke to Attorney General Eric Holder.

"It would be an inconvenience at the least, and probably that’s too mild a word for people that live in the neighborhood and businesses in the neighborhood," Bloomberg told reporters.

"There are places that would be less expensive for the taxpayers and less disruptive for New York City."

State and city leaders have increasingly railed against a plan to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Manhattan federal court since Holder proposed it last month.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said he was "pleased" that the administration is reconsidering the location of the trial.

Earlier in the day, Schumer spoke "with high-level members of the administration and urged them to find alternatives," said the senator’s spokesman, Josh Vlasto.

The order to consider new venues does not change the White House’s position that Mohammed should be tried in civilian court.

"President Obama is still committed to trying Mohammed and four other terrorist detainees in federal court," spokesman Bill Burton said Thursday.

"He agrees with the attorney general’s opinion that . . . he and others can be litigated successfully and securely in the United States of America, just like others have," Burton said.

Burton referred questions about the location debate to the Justice Department. While not commenting publicly, a department official disputed the characterization that the White House ordered the possible move.

But another insider told the Daily News that Justice officials have been caught off guard by the fiery opposition in New York.

"They’re in a tizzy at Justice over Bloomberg," a federal law enforcement official said. "It’s like a half-baked soufflé – the plan is collapsing."

Julie Menin, the chairwoman of Community Board 1 who helped rally opposition to the plan, called the shift "a step in the right direction."

"I’m thrilled the White House is reconsidering," Menin said. "The trial has to be moved out of New York City."

Meanwhile, a source told The News that Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was the driving force behind the push by Manhattan business leaders to change the mayor’s mind on the trial.

Kelly made an "extremely powerful" speech to a roomful of 150 prominent business leaders about how disruptive and costly the trial would be for lower Manhattan at an annual police charity event on Jan. 13, the source said.

"What turned this around was when Ray made a presentation to the Police Foundation," the source said. "Everyone went from thinking, ‘Justice will be served’ to thinking ‘We are screwed.’ "

What followed was a barrage of complaints to the mayor from some of New York‘s most powerful tycoons – part of a tide of pressure that led Bloomberg to turn against hosting the trial.

Estimates put the cost of a multiyear terror trial in lower Manhattan at about $200 million a year. Leaders have suggested other venues for the trial, such as the Military Academy at West Point or Stewart Air National Guard Base in upstate Newburgh.

The federal government has said they would reimburse the city for the costs, most of which cover overtime for increased security, but they won’t reimburse business owners for lost revenue during the chaos, said Steven Spinola, president of the heavyweight business group Real Estate Board of New York.

"Is the federal government going to give the city $1 billion plus the cost of propping up businesses? I don’t think so," Spinola said.

"The mayor clearly has been thinking about this. The tide is turning," he


With Kenneth Lovett, James Gordon Meek and Rocco Parascandola

How about a military trial… at Gitmo!?!

Obama finally sees the light

Perhaps someone with the intellect of Barack Obama should have known that moving a 9/11 terror trial to New York City wasn’t the best idea in the world. Finally, the President has caved in and it has been reported that he ordered the Justice Department to find new places to hold the trial. Glenn Beck has a suggestion for the President as to where the trial should be held. Find out where and listen to Glenn talk about it on radio this morning. ( Transcript, Insider Audio)

About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
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