New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg shifted his position today on holding a trial in Manhattan for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“It would be great if the federal government could find a site that didn’t cost a billion dollars, which using downtown will,” he told reporters on Wednesday, according to The New York Times.
“It’s going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people,” he said. “Can we provide security? Yes. Could you provide security elsewhere? Yeah, and I mean — the suggestion of a military base is probably a reasonably good one. Relatively easy to supply — to provide security. They tend to be outside of cities so that they don’t disrupt other people.”
When the trial was announced about two months ago, Bloomberg seemed on board with the idea, saying it was “fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site where so many New Yorkers were murdered.”
But political pressure has ramped up recently, with a community board voting 42-to-0 on Tuesday evening to ask Attorney General Eric Holder to consider a list of alternative sites, including several southern New York sites outside New York City: the United States Military Academy at West Point, the National Guard base at Stewart International Airport near Newburgh and a federal prison in Otisville, writes The Times.