Poll: Americans don't want 9/11 terror trials in New York - or any courtBy Richard Sisk and Thomas M. Defrank
February 11, 2010
WASHINGTON - It's not just New Yorkers who don't want terror thugs tried in their backyard.
A majority of Americans also disagree with President Obama's plan to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in civilian courts, a Quinnipiac University poll found.
By a 59% to 35% margin, voters prefer that Mohammed and his cohorts face justice from military tribunals instead of in federal courts.
The poll, released yesterday, also found that 68% believe terror suspects don't deserve the same constitutional protections afforded by a civilian trial. Only 25% believe those safeguards should be extended to alleged terrorists.
"This is the American people speaking up and saying we've had enough of coddling terrorists and treating terrorists as if they are just another form of criminal," Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) said. "The fact is they are evil."
Obama announced plans in November to try Mohammed and four other alleged terrorists in federal district court in lower Manhattan.
That decision is on hold after Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, and civic and business leaders balked.
Obama said over the weekend he has not ruled out a Manhattan trial. The Justice Department is considering alternate venues.
The poll also found that a solid majority of Americans favor scrapping the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy - but also support restrictions on gays serving openly.
Voters favor gays serving openly by 57% to 36%, and believe by 66% to 31% that barring them from serving is discriminatory.
By 54% to 38%, the 2,617 registered voters in the poll also said military gays should face restrictions on exhibiting their sexual orientation while on duty.