The Christmas Day terror attack hands the Obama administration a tough new question: where to try the bomber.
"He should be treated as an enemy combatant" and tried in a military tribunal, said Rep. Peter King (R-LI), ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee. In that way, he said, "we can get as much intelligence information out of him that we could."
"That's ridiculous," said constitutional-law expert Jonathan Turley. "It is absolutely clear that he should be tried in federal court."
The debate over where Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will face justice is bound to revive the controversy that erupted when the administration decided to try five senior al Qaeda leaders in Manhattan federal court for the 9/11 attacks.
Tribunals "are designed to guarantee convictions," said Turley, of George Washington University. If Abdulmutallab is found guilty that way, "half the world will dismiss the result."
Besides, he said, the bomber is reportedly cooperating entirely with investigators, so a tribunal is unlikely to reveal additional al Qaeda secrets.
Meanwhile, the New York 9/11 trials are coming with a hefty price tag. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday they're going to cost much more than last month's initial estimate of $75 million.
Kelly wouldn't say how much more, but the NYPD says there aren't enough officers to handle trial security, so much of the cost will come from paying overtime.