In a move that seemingly acknowledges the growing backlash against the plan to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspected 9/11 plotters in a Lower Manhattan courthouse, President Obama has said he will play a bigger role in the selection of a venue for the trial. The Washington Post reports that after initially tapping Attorney General Eric Holder to determine the site of the trial, Obama himself will become more involved so he can secure congressional funding for the case before opponents launch efforts to strip the trial of financing.
As outcry against a New York trial has surged over complaints about security and cost, Holder made it clear that although he would prefer to see the case tried in a civilian court, he might allow it to proceed in a military tribunal. "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 and with adherence to all the rules," Holder said. "If we do that, I'm not sure the location or even the forum is as important as what the world sees in that proceeding."
According to the New York Post, administration officials admitted "that the White House was caught off guard" by the initial opposition. But that doesn't mean the President has taken off the plan for a New York trial off the table entirely. When asked recently whether a Manhattan civilian court trial is still an option, Obama said: "I have not ruled it out."