Terrorist trials may still be held in Manhattan, says President


By: Jim Kouri, CPP

Apparently the news media last week jumped the gun by announcing the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9-11 terrorism suspects would not be tried in federal court in Manhattan. President Barack Obama said during an interview televised on CBS News on Sunday that he had not ruled out holding the trials in New York City, but he acknowledged that there are logistical issues and local opposition that makes such a high profile court proceeding difficult.

When asked during the interview if his administration still planned to hold the trial in New York City, Obama replied, “I have not ruled it out.”

“If you’ve got a city that is saying ‘no’ and a police department that’s saying ‘no’ and a mayor that’s saying ‘no,’ that makes it difficult,” he stated.

A firestorm of criticism and protest began almost immediately following Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement in November that the Justice Department had decided to bring KSM and four other suspects to New York to stand trial for the 9-11 terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people.

Last week, the news organizations reported that the White House began looking for places other than Manhattan to prosecute the five terrorists currently being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There were several reports that the Obama Administration was backing down from its original trial plans.

That news was met with some relief by many family members who lost loved ones when two terrorist-commandeered planes flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

More than a few security and law enforcement experts have said the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four alleged co-conspirators would require a huge and costly security presence, with estimates as high as $275 million.

A Justice Department spokesman on Friday reported that Holder was considering other locations for the trials, including Newburgh, New York. The New York Times and Washington Post reported that the lower Manhattan federal courthouse was out of the running, citing unnamed administration officials.

After his vitriolic attacks on intelligence agents and his threats against an Arizona sheriff who enforces immigration laws, last year Holder surprised many when he decided the trials against five Guantanamo Bay detainees would be held in a civilian court in lower Manhattan. The rationale for transferring the case from the military courts to the civilian criminal justice system was in part to send a message to the world regarding the fairness of the U.S. justice system.

“When is the United States government going to stop trying to prove to foreigners who hate us that America is a good and just country? Hell, we have Americans who believe America is evil so why should foreigners feel differently,” said a former New York City police detective and US Marine intelligence officer.

“If the Obama White House wants to send a message to the world, they should call Western Union and stop these inane attempts at placating people who hate us no matter what,” said the decorated cop. “How many times does the USA have to prove it is a great and generous nation?”

While he never openly complained about the terror trials being held in his jurisdiction, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a press conference that he believed the trials were “unlikely” to be held in Manhattan or the other New York City boroughs.

The decision to flip-flop on the issue of the New York trials came after President Obama faced increased political pressure and polls showing his administration’s decision was unpopular with Americans.

With Obama trying to pass healthcare reform, reduce the unemployment rate, and bring down the national debt and deficit, many believe he’s decided to acquiesce on the issue of terror trials. Also, at first New York’s popular Mayor Michael Bloomberg supported the Obama-Holder decision, but after weeks of facing protests and pleas from the families of 9-11 victims, Bloomberg flip-flopped.

New York Governor David Paterson, who’s facing a tough re-election campaign of his own, has also criticized the decision to have the trials in Manhattan.

“We are worried about the effects of mass law enforcement on lower Manhattan, congestion, traffic, resources that have to be spent,” he told reporters.

In Washington, Republicans have voiced their opposition to having terrorists tried in civilian courts in New York. Several key Democrat lawmakers have voiced their own concerns over planned criminal trials for terrorists, with some such as Senator Diane Feinstein urging that the alleged September 11 plotters be tried in military tribunals instead.

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.

He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.

To subscribe to Kouri’s newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write “Subscription” on the subject line.

About The Author Jim Kouri, CPP:
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.
Website:http://jimkouri.us

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