Terror on trial in New York – Congress moves to defund the process
Breaking news from senior officials at the White House has confirmed negotiations between the President and Department of Justice have begun to rethink the New York City trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his cohorts.
Amid a growing number of lawmakers, residents and surviving family members the President has began to rethink giving terrorists a platform to insult America in such a open trial.
In recent weeks surviving family members of 9/11 have stepped up their concern for a show trial in NYC. Joining the family members are those from law enforcement and fire departments who suffered a significant losses on 9/11. The cost for the trial is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $200 million per year and the last federal trial of the 20th highjacker took four years to complete.
In an effort to stop the September 11th show trial in NYC, Rep. Bill King (R-NY) has moved to defund the NYC trial of KSM and his cohorts. King explained he has introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of Justice Department funds to try Guantanamo detainees in federal civilian courts. King called the decision to try the case in NYC “one of the worst decisions ever made by any president.” He went on to say military commissions should be trying terror suspects.
Shortly after King’s announcement to cut funding for the trial, Governor of New York David Paterson said he too is seeking to have the trial moved to another location.
In an apparent change of heart, Mayor of NYC Michael Bloomberg said he called Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday to lobby for moving the trial outside lower Manhattan.
Mayor Bloomberg has spoken out against plans to move forward with the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, at the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, joining a growing chorus of people who believe the circus trial will be too disruptive and cost the city too much money.
“It would be great if the federal government could find a site that didn’t cost a billion dollars, which using downtown will,” he said to reporters earlier this week.
“It’s going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people,” the mayor said. “Can we provide security? Yes. Could you provide security elsewhere? Yeah, and I mean — the suggestion of a military base is probably a reasonably good one. They tend to be outside of cities so that they don’t disrupt other people.”
“He has a good point and the administration should listen to that point. KSM does not have to be tried in NYC,” Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said during a MSNBC appearance. “If there is evidence that this will either make NYC a target or present unusual expenses, then the mayor- and I’ve been a mayor- should be listened to.”
This week’s statement from the mayor marked a 180-degree turn from his initial reaction to the news, two months ago, that the trial would be held in Manhattan. ”It is fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site where so many New Yorkers were murdered,” he previously explained.
On behalf of the survivors of 9/11, Human Events, a conservative organization, put together a petition with signatures and have sent it to Attorney General Holder. It read in part; “Mr. Holder, as Attorney General of the United States, it was within your power to move the trial of KSM from a military tribunal to a civilian court. It is equally within your power to reverse that dangerous decision. The petition hereby request that you try al-Qaeda’s confessed 9/11 terrorist mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four al-Qaeda cohorts in a military tribunal, reversing your precedent-changing decision to try them in a civilian court in New York City.”
“Our final words are from David Beamer, father of Todd Beamer, one of the heroes of United Flight 93: ‘Our enemies must be thrilled’ he wrote of your decision to give KSM and the others a civilian trial in Manhattan. We are willingly handing them an opportunity to inflict economic harm on New York City, keep their cause in the headlines, gather new intelligence, create new terror strategies, stimulate recruiting, celebrate new found rights, and foist a fresh round of pain and suffering upon their victims.”
Currently the military tribunal has dismissed the case against KSM and four others without prejudice and they can take up the action and move forward with new proceedings, according to Rudy Giuliani former mayor of NYC during 9/11.
Other prominent lawmakers joining the Mayor Bloomberg’s quest to move the trial include Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY).
Speaking confidently about the possible NYC terror trial, John Boehner (R-OH) House Minority leader said the President doesn’t have the votes needed to try the case in the Big Apple.
Congress is almost sure to deny President Obama the funds necessary to conduct the trials in the federal courthouse just blocks away from the Twin Towers, ground zero of the 9/11 attacks that cut short the lives of nearly 3,000 civilians.
“The discussions are under way in case the option of holding the trials in New York City is foreclosed upon at either the state or the federal level,” an Obama administration official said.
Obama has stood by Attorney General Holder’s decision to move the suspects, including self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to New York to be tried in federal court. Recent polling on this issue finds the majority of Americans would rather see the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks be tried in military tribunals in a quiet fashion.
White House Deputy Press Secretary, Bill Burton said, while the White House backs Holder’s decision to try the mastermind of 9/11 in federal court, senior administration officials see the writing on the wall and there will most likely be a venue change.