Rep. Pete King said Wednesday that putting Sept. 11 plotters on trial in New York City would be a security "time bomb" placing citizens at greater risk.
But if President Obama's advisers pull Osama Bin Laden's goons out of Guantanamo Bay for prosecution in civilian courts, "New York is the logical place to hold the trials," the Long Island Republican added.
Attorney General Eric Holder and Defense Secretary Robert Gates will announce by Nov. 16 whether Al Qaeda's ex-No. 3 Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his henchmen will be removed from Gitmo's military tribunals.
Many insiders are betting they'll wind up in New York, where they could be locked up for years until their trials.
"It will tremendously increase the risk to New York," said King, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee. "It's like having a time bomb in the city."
Some 9/11 victims' relatives strongly oppose starting all over in civilian courts, citing military prosecutors' prediction of a three-year delay. The military's case itself against Mohammed and four other 9/11 thugs has dragged on for almost two years without a trial date.
But other victim families favor a Manhattan trial."I'd like an accessible location because I'd like to be present," said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son Christian was killed.
Regenhard said many 9/11 parents are elderly or in poor health, and a New York trial would be more convenient than flying to Cuba.
"I want to see justice done and to attend the hearings," said Talat Hamdani, the mom of NYPD cadet Salman Hamdani, killed in the twin towers.
"What better place than Ground Zero, where they killed our loved ones?" said Hamdani, who has attended a Gitmo hearing. "I will go."
Republicans strongly disagree, arguing Gitmo and its secure courthouse be kept open.
"It seems the only people who don't believe that men like Mohammed should be treated as enemy combatants are working in the [Obama] administration," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday.