The Hill - Rep. King: Continuing Debate Over 9/11 Trials 'Makes Us Look Foolish'

News Article

By:  Pete King
Date: April 18, 2010
Location: Unknown

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) on Sunday said the current debate over where federal prosecutors should try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 suspects "makes us look foolish."

While President Barack Obama is reportedly mulling places other than New York to host those trials, Attorney General Eric Holder said just this week that a federal court in New York's Lower Manhattan area is still "not off the table."

But that comment has since enraged King, long an opponent of the White House's approach to Guantanamo Bay trials, who told Fox News on Sunday that it is "time for the president to say he's president, that the president decides this and not the attorney general."

"It makes us look foolish to have the Justice Department saying one thing and the president another, to have all of this disarray in the White House," said King, who repeatedly described Holder as a "liberal ideologue" with a "liberal inclination he can't control."

"It is time for the president to do the right thing, take it out of New York and put it in a military tribunal," King added.

The White House seems unlikely to recant on its promise not to try terror suspects before military commissions. But the president does seem poised to announce a location for the proceedings other than New York, following months of complains from local lawmakers who felt the trials would take too much of a toll on the city.

Some of the Obama administration's early critics questioned the trial's likely costs, citing security for the proceedings could register high in the hundred millions, which they said New York could not afford. Others, including King, said the trial could "turn Lower Manhattan into an armed camp" and disrupt local communities.

Ultimately, the president is likely to announce his decision "within weeks," Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Still, even if Obama chooses not to hold the trial anywhere near New York city, he is unlikely to satisfy lawmakers like King, who is pusing legislation that would keep those cases far from civilian courtrooms in any U.S. city.