Stepped-up security measures for the upcoming trial of the suspects in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are now expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars — a far heftier price tag than originally thought.
In a letter obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, Mayor Michael Bloomberg put the cost at $216 million for the first year after Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects arrive in Manhattan from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. After that, the mayor said it would cost $200 million annually for as long as the men are detained in the city — mainly overtime for extra New York Police Department patrols.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had given an initial estimate of $75 million a year but later warned it could be higher. A recent NYPD analysis came up with the totals cited by the mayor.
City officials and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., have called on the federal government to foot the bill.
"As 9/11 was an attack on the entire nation, we need the federal government to shoulder the significant costs we will incur and ease this burden," Bloomberg wrote in the letter dated Tuesday to the Office of Management and Budget in Washington.
Schumer has asked the Obama administration to include the trial security costs for the NYPD, the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service as a separate item in the proposed 2011 federal budget.
"Not a nickel of these costs should be borne by the New York taxpayers because terrorism is a federal responsibility and this is a federal trial," the senator said Wednesday in a statement.
Federal officials have said they're still determining the security costs and how they will be paid. No date has been set for the trial.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced last month that Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the 2001 attacks, and four accused of being al-Qaida henchmen would be tried in federal court in lower Manhattan. The court complex, including a jail that would hold the men, is just blocks from where the World Trade Center towers were destroyed in the attack on Sept 11, 2001.
Believing the high-profile trial could inspire another attack, the NYPD has planned a show of force involving thousands of officers. The department expects to establish a frozen zone around the courthouse protected by car check points, bomb-sniffing dogs, rooftop sharpshooters and helicopter patrols.