Government 'close to decision' on trial for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Eric Holder saysBY JAMES GORDON MEEK
November 11, 2010
WASHINGTON - Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday said the government is "close to a decision" on how to try Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
Holder's remarks set off a flurry of blowback, with Republicans saying they won't stand for a 9/11 trial on U.S. soil - and Democrats again nixed New York City as a venue.
"We have been working on it, and I think we're close to a decision," the AG told reporters.
A Justice Department source downplayed the comment, saying political conditions have only worsened - Republicans won the House in last week's election - since earlier this year, when Holder said a decision was weeks away.
Congress must provide funding for the expensive, multi-year 9/11 trial. Democrats have done nothing to fight GOP efforts to block budget approval.
"I urge Attorney General Holder not to hold any 9/11 trials in New York or anywhere in the U.S.," said Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.), the incoming Homeland Security Committee chairman.
King said KSM and his henchmen should be tried by a military commission at Gitmo, where they are held without charges for the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks.
The military withdrew its case to make way for a federal civilian trial - but then New York balked at it being held in lower Manhattan's Foley Square courthouse.
"The trial should not and will not be in New York," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday.