Sept. 11 Mastermind, 4 Other Suspects to Face Trial in N.Y.

November 13, 2009

Mohammed and the four others — Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi and Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali — are accused of orchestrating the attacks that killed 2,973 people on Sept. 11, 2001, and will now be tried in a courtroom down the street from the World Trade Center.

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers and victims’ families expressed outrage Friday that President Obama has approved a recommendation to try self-proclaimed Sept. 11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay to New York to face trial in a civilian federal court.

“These terrorists planned and executed the mass murder of thousands of innocent Americans. Treating them like common criminals is unconscionable,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement.

“This, I think, will go down as one of the worst decisions any president has ever made,” said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.

“The only thing they are going to do is give them a stage to mock us … and this makes me sick to my stomach,” said Tim Brown, a former New York City firefighter and founder of, a group that is petitioning the administration not to bring terrorists to civilian courts.

Attorney General Eric Holder was to announce the decision to transfer the detainees now at Guantanamo Bay during a morning new conference.

President Obama, speaking in Tokyo, said he will insist that Mohammed be subject to “the most exacting demands of justice” and called the move both a prosecutorial and a national security decision.

“I’m absolutely convinced that Khalid Sheik Mohammad will be subject to the most exacting demands of justice. The American people insist on it. My administration will insist on it,” he said…

…It is also a major legal and political test of Obama’s overall approach to terrorism. If the case suffers legal setbacks, the administration will face second-guessing from those who never wanted it in a civilian courtroom. And if lawmakers get upset about notorious terrorists being brought to their home regions, they may fight back against other parts of Obama’s agenda…

…Holder had been considering other possible trial locations, including Virginia, Washington and a different courthouse in New York City. Those districts could all end up conducting trials of other Guantanamo detainees sent to federal court later on…

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