9/11 Trials Might Not Even Be in Civilian Courts Anymore

By
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Forget Manhattan — Attorney General Eric Holder, under increasing political pressure, is now considering the possibility of moving the trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other alleged 9/11 plotters to military tribunals and out of civilian courts entirely.


And Holder, in an interview Thursday, left open the possibility that Mohammed's trial could be switched to a military commission, although he said that is not his personal and legal 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 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."

But it was only a few days ago that Obama was defending the decision to go the civilian route. In an interview with Katie Couric, Obama said that "it is a virtue of our system that we should be proud of" that the Bush administration was able to prosecute 190 "folks" for terrorism ties in civilian courts. Obama had previously said, “I think this notion that somehow we have to be fearful, that these terrorists ... possess some special powers that prevent us from presenting evidence against them, locking them up and, you know, exacting swift justice, I think that has been a fundamental mistake." Special powers? Terrorists don't have them. Obama's Republican critics, on the other hand, might — they've succeeded in making a Constitutional-law professor reconsider his faith in our criminal-justice system.

Obama will help select location of Khalid Sheik Mohammed terrorism trial [WP]