Washington, Feb 13, President Barack Obama is still mulling a new location to try the five Al Qaeda suspects accused of plotting the Sep 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and has not ruled out reverting to military commissions.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and four co-defendants were originally set to face a federal court in New York later this year, but the Obama administration has been forced to reconsider amid a backlash from city officials, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“There are a series of things that are being looked at, most appropriately the security and logistical concerns of those in New York, as a decision is being made,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters in Washington Friday.
Gibbs acknowledged that Obama had become more directly involved in the decision-making process amid stiff opposition in the US Congress, where many lawmakers are seeking to strip funding for Obama to try the Al Qaeda suspects in a federal court.
“Because Congress has become involved in this, because legislation could restrict the venue and the type of trial, the White House is more involved,” Gibbs said.
US Attorney General Eric Holder, in an interview with the Washington Post earlier Friday, suggested that transparency was ultimately more important than how Mohammed and his co-defendants were tried. He left open the option of using military commissions, though it was not the administration’s preference.
“At the end of the day, wherever this case is tried, in whatever forum, what we have to ensure is that it’s done as transparently as possible,” Holder told the paper.
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