Keep the 9/11 Thugs in Gitmo: Peter King

Long Island congressman warns of security risks if 9/11 trials come to New York

By Jennifer Millman
|  Thursday, Oct 15, 2009  |  Updated 10:30 AM EDT
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Keep the 9/11 Thugs in Gitmo: Peter King

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

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Putting the masterminds behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on trial in New York City is a bad idea, according to Rep. Peter King.

The ninth-term Republican congressman from Long Island said yesterday that prosecuting the alleged Sept. 11 plotters in the city exposes residents to greater safety risks, reports the Daily News.

However, if President Obama's administration pulls Osama Bin Laden's cohorts out of Guantanamo Bay for trials in civilian courts, "New York is the logical place" to prosecute them, King, the ranking GOP member of the Homeland Security Committee, said.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Attorney General Eric Holder have until Nov. 16 to decide whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a former top Al Qaeda operative, and his minions will be reassigned from the military court at Guantanamo Bay.

People close to the situation figure they'll end up coming to New York, where they could spend years behind bars before facing trial.

"It will tremendously increase the risk to New York," King told the News. "It's like having a time bomb in the city."

Some relatives of 9/11 victims want the accused plotters to stay at Gitmo because they want to see justice served sooner rather than later. Military prosecutors predicted a three-year delay if the cases get turned over to civilian court, reports the News. The case against Mohammed and four other 9/11 brutes has already been going on for nearly two years – and a trial date has yet to be set.

On the other hand, some 9/11 families want the trials to be held close to home so they can monitor the proceedings. It's a heck of a lot easier than flying to Cuba.

"I want to see justice done and to attend the hearings," Talat Hamdani, whose NYPD cadet son perished in the attacks, told the News. "What better place than Ground Zero, where they killed our loved ones?"

Republicans think the protected location at Guantanamo Bay is the best place to hold the trials, according to the News – and some are throwing jabs at the Obama administration for disagreeing.

"It seems the only people who don't believe that men like Mohammed should be treated as enemy combatants are working in the [Obama] administration," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told the News.

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