Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama Walking Back From Holding KSM Terror Trial In NYC

President Obama is now directing the Justice Department to consider other venues besides the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan following an outcry from the local community.This wouldn't affect the Administration's choice to try these terrorists in federal court but only where the trials would be held.
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" by the decision and said the White House also told him Thursday night it backs a possible move.

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.
That the trial was expected to run $200 million a year in security costs to handle the trial might have had something to do with the move.

Mayor Bloomberg's opposition to having the trial here is seen as a big reason for the about-face from the White House and was boosted by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and meetings with local business leaders who would have been adversely affected by the security protocols that would have been put in place to secure the detention facilities and courthouse - no go zones and limited access that would have seriously harmed Chinatown businesses and those around Lower Manhattan.

Still, I'm not sure how the costs would be any cheaper elsewhere in the NY metro region, though it would be less disruptive if held in someplace like a military installation like West Point or on Governor's Island.

All these problems could have been avoided by the decision to utilize military tribunals, which the Administration intends to use in the handling of 50 other detainees that are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.

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