Evoking his own roots as a native New Yorker, Holder said that he never would have green lighted the trials here if that would endanger the city.
"I want to assure the people of New York that those trials would not have been placed there if I had any doubt about the ability of the federal government, the state government and local government to insure the safety of the city that I care a great deal about , the city where I was born," Holder said.
His decision to transfer 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four alleged cohorts from the Guantanamo Bay facility to face civilian justice in Manhattan has triggered protests and security concerns.
Last week, Holder met with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and other officials for a security tour of the US District Court in Lower Manhattan, where the trial will be held, and the nearby Metropolitan Correctional Center where the alleged terrorists will be imprisoned. Holder said Kelly and the others assured him the trials could be handled smoothly and the AG offered assistance with resources and funding.
"I also left impressed by the physical plant," he said. "That was one of the reasons we chose New York, it is a hardened facility."
However others aren't so sure, including former Mayor Rudy Giuliani who has called it "a terrible mistake" to have the trials here.
"Do you say 'New York is already a target so let's do another thing to make it a target?'" Giuliani asked. "It will certainly add to the tremendous burdens of protecting" the city.