The mayor who calmed New York City after the Sept. 11 attacks and the mayor who currently presides over the metropolis don’t see eye to eye about the Obama administration’s decision to send five Guantanamo suspects to Manhattan to stand trial for their alleged roles in the terrorist plot.
“Returning some of the Guantanamo detainees to New York City for trial, specifically Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, has now brought us full circle – we have regressed to a pre-9/11 mentality with respect to Islamic extremist terrorism,” former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said in a statement. “Khalid Shaikh Mohammed should be treated like the war criminal he is and tried in a military court. He is not just another murderer, or even a mass murderer. He murdered as part of a declared war against us—America.”
Guiliani said the administration was courting trouble by using the paradigm of law enforcement to tackle the problem of terrorism.
"This is the same mistake we made with the 1993 terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center. We treated them like domestic criminals, when in fact they were terrorists. In the dangerous world we live in today, a nation unable to identify and properly define its enemies is a nation in danger.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who took office in 2002 and won a third term earlier this month, backed the Justice Department move to indict the 9/11 suspects in New York.
“I support the Obama Administration’s decision to prosecute 9/11 terrorists here,” Bloomberg said. “It is fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site where so many New Yorkers were murdered. We have hosted terrorism trials before, including the trial of Omar Abdel-Rahman, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.”
Bloomberg expressed no concerned that the trial will make the city a bigger target for terrorists.
“I have great confidence that the NYPD, with federal authorities, will handle security expertly. The NYPD is the best police department in the world and it has experience dealing with high-profile terrorism suspects and any logistical issues that may come up during the trials,” Bloomberg said.
Some critics of Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, noted that during the 1990s he endorsed the use of civilian courts to try terrorists.
“I think it shows you put terrorism on one side, you put our legal system on the other, and our legal system comes out ahead,” Giuliani said on CBS in 1994 when charges were brought in the first World Trade Center bombing, according to research released by the Democratic-leaning National Security Network.
During his presidential campaign last year, Giuliani said events since the trial, including the 9/11 attacks, demonstrated that the U.S. had relied too heavily on law enforcement to pursue Al Qaeda.