The United States District Court Southern District of New York in lower Manhattan January 28, 2010. Responding to pressure from residents, Mayor Bloomberg said the trial for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his fellow terrorists should be moved out of the city. The suspects would be held at the Manhattan Detention Complex and taken by tunnel to the Federal Courthouse.
New Yorkers who live near the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan are relieved that the Obama administration is backing away from plans to hold the 9/11 trial there.
Objections from New York City officials and residents have intensified since the Justice Department announced late last year it planned to put five accused Sept. 11 conspirators on trial in Manhattan federal court.
No alternative trial venue has been chosen yet. On Sunday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the White House is still hoping to bring Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and the other terror suspects to trial in New York, despite recent reservations expressed by officials there.
"We are talking with the authorities in New York," he said.
But lower Manhattan residents said Sunday that their neighborhood has suffered enough.
Kini Gadbaw of Tribeca said the tight security would make it difficult to get around, and she would not want to have the accused terrorists in the area.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is proposing a $200 million fund to help pay for security costs in cities hosting the trials of accused terrorists such as Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
A congressional aide familiar with the plan says the money will be included in the president's budget being release Monday. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the spending blueprint hasn't been released.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" this morning, White House aide David Axelrod said there has been no decision made on where the trials will move. He said the administration must take into consideration such local opposition as the kind encountered in New York City.
Plans for the move came amid growing costs for security. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has put the cost of tighter security at $216 million just for the first year after Mohammed and the others were to arrive from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
New York City officials had warned of massive gridlock in lower Manhatten due to the extraordinary security steps that would have been required to host the trial.
Congress has yet to provide the $100 million sought by the Pentagon to implement Obama's request to shutter the Guantanamo facility and has imposed restrictions on tranferring its detainees into the U.S. -- except to stand trial.
Minority Republicans have led the opposition to hosting Guantanamo detainee trials in the U.S.
But other states such as Illinois welcome the detainees since holding them is a source of federally-funded jobs. Democrats controlling the state government want to sell a prison in the rural northwest portion of the state to the federal government to house Guantanamo detainees.