• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Escape From New York: Obama Retreats On KSM Trial

    Today, the Obama White House asked Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to look for an alternative site to hold the federal trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators. In the last week, the political support for the controversial decision to hold the trial in New York City evaporated. Now, the Obama administration is scrambling to find an alternative location for the federal trial. Instead of looking for a new ZIP-code for a costly federal trial, the administration should send those detainees back to a military commission where they belong.

    Earlier this week, Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Joe Liberman (I-CT), Jim Webb (D-VA), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Susan Collins (R-ME) sent a letter to the President asking him to strongly reconsider his decision to try KSM in a federal court. The attacks of 9/11 were acts of war, they argued, and thus those responsible should be tried as “war criminals.” In other words, send them back to military commissions.

    The NYC Police Commissioner opined that he did not support holding the trials in the city. It’s no wonder, given that the estimated cost for providing police and other security for the trials keeps creeping upwards. Most recently, it was estimated that it would cost at least $200 million a year for security alone. Keep in mind that the trial could last years. Some put the total cost estimate at over $1 billion.

    NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who apparently was not consulted about the decision to hold the trials in his city, first supported the idea. Then, after the gravity of the situation sank it, he withdrew his support.

    Since the decision to hold the trial in NYC was announced by Eric Holder, residents there grew more and more skeptical of the decision. Many were outright hostile to the idea.

    Yesterday, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, publicly withdrew her support for the location of the federal trial in Manhattan. That was the tipping point.

    And finally, liberal New York Senator Charles Schumer, who staunchly defended the decision to try KSM in federal court in NYC, called the White House and asked them to strongly consider finding an alternate location for the trials.

    So much for standing up for principle and having the courage of one’s convictions.

    No doubt the administration is working behind the scenes to find an alternative site for the federal trials, but what mayor or citizenry of a major city will now step up and beg for the trial, especially given Mayor Bloomberg’s public statements about the danger and costs that come with it?

    Perhaps the administration will seek out a “Thomson” option (Thomson is the name of the underused state facility in Illinois where Obama wants to bring Gitmo detainees.) After being rebuffed by large city mayors, will they seek out a small or mid-size city for the federal trial, with the illusory promise of “jobs?” Perhaps.

    It is time for the administration to acknowledge the folly of deciding to try KSM and others in federal court and refer them back to a military commission where they belong. Then, the administration should give commissions the full resources that they have lacked, including world class prosecutors and defense counsel.

    The tide is turning against the administration’s approach to terrorism. Perhaps that is why the President did not mention KSM during his State of the Union address. Americans don’t think terrorists deserve constitutional rights. Americans also know that military commissions are fair.

    The administration has an opportunity to do the right thing. If they don’t, Congress may force their hand.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to Escape From New York: Obama Retreats On KSM Trial

    1. Mike M US says:

      The idiocy of that decision was astounding, and it is about time that common sense Americans start speaking out on this one and dozens of other such idiotic decisions by the bunch of amateurs in the White House

    2. Drew Page, IL says:

      This is yet another example of how the instincts of the current administration have proven to be unpopular with a majority of American citizens.

      Just like health care reform, the Stimulus, the bailouts and Cap & Trade, the administration believes it knows better than a majority of Americans and they have tried to force their will upon the people who disagree. The administration and the majority party leaders in Congress have been out of touch with the will of a majority of Americans.

      The current administration and the Democrat party leadership have convinced themselves that they have developed the perfect dogfood. They are now beside themselves that after all their marketing efforts, the dogs aren't eating it.

    3. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      Mike M, sorry but I disagree with your opinion that their is a "bunch of amateurs

      in the White House". The people that surround Obama or no amateurs. They are extereamly devious.These people have been hand picked for the expressed purpose of "transforming" this nation into Obama's agenda of a socialist utopia.

      One example, look at Eric Holder's background as a lawer repersenting terrorist.

      NO Mike, these people are not "amateurs". They are well trained to complete

      their jobs.

    4. Louis L Cesar F Levy says:

      Good start, but they need to go further. Overspending whether on trial or else obey the mandate of he who calls us pork. Let all terrorists be judged in Martial Courts. This would be very rational.

    5. Thom, Lake County Il says:

      The prison in Illinois is the Thomson prison named for the town of Thomson Illinois. Thompson with a "P" is the name of one of our few former Governors who are not serving time in federal prisons.

    6. Pingback: Morning Bell: It Is Time To Priortize Security Over Terrorist Rights | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    7. Merlin S. Bradley says:

      this is a complete military matter, so treat it as such. this trial should not last for years, and should be handled quickly, and at very little cost to the taxpayers. We are war with these people, so treat it that way.

    8. Spiritof76, NH says:

      First Eric Holder must go. The hastened Mirandizing of the underwear bomber without consulting anyone and the planned KSM criminal trials have harmed America. It is the exact opposite of what his job function is-to protect and defend the Constitution.

      Fire Holder. Retract KSM trials to military courts in Gitmo with sentencing objective set for September 11, 2010. Recalssify the underwear bomber as enemy combatant and transfer him to Gitmo. All future terrorists must be tried as enemy combatant. Any further mis-steps must be counted as an impeachable offense.

    9. Pingback: The Real Trial Of The Century « Around The Sphere

    10. martyinaz says:

      If they must have a public trial, then we should have a public hanging. String them up in Time Square. Let them hang for two days with the TV cameras rolling. When they cut them down, ship them to a large Aligator farm to permanently dispose of their remains. Those 72 virgins will not like that bloody mess. Get a ROPE!

    11. Gre Vail, AZ says:

      I am not totally convinced that those in the Obama administration are smart. You do not have to be smart to be devious. You just have to have the right mind set. No matter how devious you are, there always seems to be someone more so than you. (Does that even make sense? Oh, well, I'm no writer anyway). This is what usually trips up the schemers in Washington.

    12. Pingback: Morning Bell: It Is Time To Prioritize Security Over Terrorist Rights | Conservative Principles Now

    13. Pingback: There is a Splendid Venue for the KSM Trial, on Beautiful Guantanamo Bay. Cheaper Too. « American Elephants

    14. R. Meyer, Baltimore, says:

      KSM should be tried in New York City. Period. How else can we show the enemy that we are not afraid?

      How else can we show the Republicans — who doubt the value of the US Constitution, the US system of justice, the competence of our jurists and the capability of our security forces (I forget; what is it the Republicans actually LIKE about America?) — that we stand tall at a New York skyscraper against those who would hurt us, while still holding to the traditions that make Americans what we are.


    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.