Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani last night both blasted the Obama administration's decision to put Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other 9/11 terror suspects on trial in New York.
"On every possible ground, it is a terrible mistake," Giuliani said in an interview with NBCNewYork.com Thursday night. "It would be very wise if the President and the attorney general would change their mind and not try them in a civilian court in New York. Try them in a military court."
Giuliani said moving the trial here will increase the already high terror threat to the city and cause enormous resources to spent on security.
"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.
Mukasey, who served in the last Bush administration, also took shots at the decision, calling it "at best a mistake, at worst a disaster in the making."
The former top lawman in the nation questioned why some terror suspects accused of bombing the U.S.S. Cole will face military tribunals while the suspects accused of killing nearly 3,000 Americans go to New York for trial.
"It is a mistake from a security standpoint both for the security of the city and national security," Mukasey said. "National security secrets can be revealed much more easily in a public proceeding like much more easily than in a military commission."
Mukasey was the federal judge during the blind sheik terror trial in the mid-1990's. He had private security assigned to him for the next 11 years.
The NYPD has said it can help make the trial safe although officials say security costs in and around the courthouse could far exceed the initial $75 million dollar estimate.
Mukasey predicts it could take years before any 9/11 trial actually starts.
Meanwhile Attorney General Eric Holder was in New York earlier this week to meet with prosecutors and security officials. Holder has said it is past time for the suspects to face trial.
"By holding these terrorists responsible for their actions, we are finally taking ultimate steps towards justice. That is why I made the decision," Holder said during a hearing on Capitol Hill last month. "I am not scared at what Khalid Sheik Mohammed has to say at trial and no one else has to be afraid either."
President Obama has said he strongly backs the decision for the trial for the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11. "I don't think it will be offensive when he is convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him," Obama said.
Senator Schumer (D-NY) has said he believes the trial is the best and fastest route for the 9-11 suspects to face justice and a possible death sentence. Schumer has said families of the victims have waited far too long.
Some democrats have derided Giuliani's criticisms, pointing out he supported the trial and later conviction of 9/11-linked suspect Zacarias Moussaoui.
NBCNewYork.com first reported that a grand jury in New York is now meeting to consider what charges to hand up against the accused 9-11 terrorists. Officials said it could take weeks before any charges are made public. New York and federal officials are making security plans that could include additional street closings, rooftop snipers, emergency response units, bomb sniffing dogs and security teams to escort the judge, prosecutors and jurors.
Republicans Giuliani and Mukasey said they will continue to press to try to get the decision to hold a trial in New York reversed.
"If you had to have the trial here, fine the city is ready, willing and able to do it. But the worst part of this is we don't have to have the trial here ... it could be in a military tribunal," Giuliani said