Washington (CNN) - White House advisers are considering recommending alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed be tried in a military court, not a civilian one in New York, a senior administration official confirmed Friday.
This would be an about face for the Obama administration which has consistently insisted trying Mohammed in civilian court would be a powerful symbol of U.S. rule of law.
In November 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder announced his intention to do just that. But a firestorm of criticism erupted from New York officials who did not want the trial held in Manhattan, and from Republican lawmakers who did not want a civilian trial.
Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration Friday acknowledged the White House is taking steps to rescue the Justice Department's troubled effort to find a home for the trial of the accused 9/11 conspirators.
The move represents a setback for Attorney General Eric Holder, who had spearheaded the decision to try self-admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court near the site of the attack on the Twin Towers.
Holder has made an issue of establishing Justice Department independence from interference by political influences.
However, with opposition to the November decision mounting in Congress and in New York City, the White House has stepped in, citing a political dimension that takes the issue beyond the legal considerations that guided Holder.
"Because Congress has become involved in this, because legislation could restrict the venue, and the type of trial, the White House is more involved, yes," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
Washington (CNN) - No decision has been made on whether to change the current plan to hold the September 11 terrorist attack trial in a civilian court in lower Manhattan, White House officials said Sunday.
Last week, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other politicians expressed concern over the costs and disruption of holding the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four accomplices at a New York City courthouse.
David Axelrod, the senior adviser to President Obama, and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that Obama believes the trial should take place in a criminal court instead of before a military commission, as permitted for some terrorism suspects.
However, Axelrod and Gibbs acknowledged that Obama and the Justice Department were considering moving the trial from New York City.
Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration is undaunted in its desire to bring to justice the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks despite an apparent setback in its plans for a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Sunday.
Mohammed “is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker,” Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
“In a federal courtroom or in a military commission?” CNN Chief National Correspondent John King interjected.
“He will be brought to justice and he is likely to be executed for the heinous crimes that he committed in killing – in masterminding the killing of 3,000 Americans. That you can be sure of,” Gibbs told King.
Asked again whether the administration still wants to try Mohammed in a civilian federal court or would, instead, consider a military tribunal, Gibbs pointed out that other terrorists who targeted the United States have been successfully tried in the federal courts.
Washington (CNN) - Two-thirds of Americans disagree with the Obama administration's decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court rather than a military court, according to a new national poll.
But six in 10 people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday say that the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks should be tried in the United States, as the administration plans to do, rather than at a U.S. facility in another country.
The poll indicates that 64 percent believe Mohammed should be tried in military court, with 34 percent suggesting that he face trial in civilian court. Six in 10 people questioned say Mohammed should be tried stateside, with 37 percent calling for the trial to take place at a U.S. facility in another country.
"The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in front of a civilian court is universally unpopular - even a majority of Democrats and liberals say that he should be tried by military authorities," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Despite that, most Americans say that he will get a fair trial in the U.S."