Security for the Terror Trial

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Yorkers are divided on the plan to try self-described 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in lower Manhattan. Paul Browne of the NYPD describes the negotiations that went into the decision and how local authorities are preparing for the trial.


Paul Browne

Comments [58]

DAT from Nathan Straus Projects

Every person, accused of a crime, any crime,
has a right to a transparent, fair jury trial.
They have a right to an attorney,
that represents them.

New York City is where the crime took place,
and these people allegedly are the perpertrators of that crime.

Everything should be brought out at trial,
including how the government decided these
people were guilty and what methods what
used to reach that conclusion.

Nov. 16 2009 02:06 PM

Call em - What you say makes no sense. If this "show trial" is meant to be a distraction from Obama's problems, then how will it help Obama if it all goes the way you say it's going to go?

If Bush had dealt with this competently, then there'd be nothing to deal with now. In fact, if Bush had tortured these people competently, there's be nothing to deal with now because when you do things that are top secret in a competent administration, everyone in America doesn't find out about it.

Nov. 16 2009 01:50 PM
Calls'em As I Sees'em from Langley, VA

The “lie” that this decision is Eric Holder's and not Barry Hussein Obama is the joke of the day. Nothing gets done in this admin without the approval of the axis of evil, i.e., Obama, Emanual and Axlerod. They are constantly triangulating the political considerations, implications and consequences.

With their poll ratings down and health care socialization and the rest of their evil plans for destroying America stalled, the Obama boys need a big distraction and fast, hence a show trial in Manhattan, where the guilty get a worldwide “soapbox” (something WNYC took away from it’s listeners and contributors) and a chance to go free and also get the opportunity to denounce America (giving Obama a rest on that front) and reveal security secrets. “Heck of a job, Barry.”

This is of course the same Eric Holder who was responsible for murdering dozens of American children at Waco, TX. He should have been disbarred, arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned for life for manslaughter or negligent homicide. What a wonderful man to have in this administration. What a shining example for today’s youth. What B---S---!

Please note that this trial is being brought to you by the same group of incompetent and mischievous Bolsheviks, Maoists and fanatic Muslim apologists in the Obama administration who despite their promises to the contrary, have not closed Gitmo, because after the election they realized it is necessary; have not pulled out of Iraq because they are afraid of the country’s collapse and have not reinforced US and NATO troops in Afghanistan which is causing our troops to be killed and wounded on a daily basis. Again, “heck of a job, Barry.”

Nov. 16 2009 12:59 PM
Ilari Kaila

I only caught a part of this show, but did no one mention the fact that the system set up by the Obama / Holder DOJ amounts to nothing less than another set of mock trials? Standing in front of the constitution, Obama announced that terror suspects will be divided into three categories: (1) Those who can and will be found guilty through civilian courts, (2) those who cannot, and must therefore be tried, and found guilty, in military tribunals (where defendants will not see all the evidence, and hearsay will be taken into consideration), and (3) those who cannot be tried in either, and whose rights to habeas corpus will thus be suspended, and who will be imprisoned anyway. Obama is continuing the same despicable erosion of civil rights that Bush started, and it is hypocritical, not to mention dangerous, of Bush critics to rally in his support. It makes no difference where any of these people are tried. The government has already decided who is guilty and who is not. Obama can just sell his version of "justice" better than Bush did.

It didn't sound to me as if this obvious point was much focussed on during the show -- though I did miss a lot of it.

Nov. 16 2009 12:07 PM
Nu ON from New York City

Ex-mayor Rudolf Giuliani is simply pimping the trial issue for publicity, just as he pimped the 9/11 disaster to gain national attention.

Giuliani says that we should consider terrorism an "act of war" instead of a "criminal act." That's absolutely ridiculous since there is no country to accuse of an "act of war" in this case. Invading Afghanistan has proven to be a waste of money and men-- since it has not resulted in the destruction of Al-Qaeda. In fact, the pointless invasion of Iraq simply created more recruits for Al-Qaeda, just as the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has created more recruits for the Taliban.

Furthermore, all successful wars against terrorism and counter-insurgency have been successful PRECISELY because the terrorists were treated as criminals-- You don't engage terrorists in an ideological debate ("act of war"). You ignore their rhetoric, you indict them, capture them, try them, and jail them.

Giuliani's type of "bulldog thinking" has almost destroyed America, and if we go back to that type of thinking it WILL destroy America.

Nov. 16 2009 10:57 AM
the truth! from bkny

We have a confession let's cut to the chase already!! We can do it on my front lawn if they want!

Nov. 16 2009 10:56 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

If the only argument one can make on whether or not to try someone in federal courts, military tribunals, or hold them indefinitely without trial is Hitler—a war criminal who was never captured much less tried—then they nothing to contribute but simple-minded and emotional fear mongering.
Or do you support the “do things my way or Hitler will win” arguments?

Nov. 16 2009 10:54 AM
Bill from New York

How does it embolden them to treat 9/11 merely as a crime? Hasn't it rather emboldened them, indeed legitimized them, by judging them war-worthy, by declaring 9/11 an act of war, by waging a War on Terror, rather than treating 9/11 merely as a crime? The greatest military power in the history of the world declares war on you and can't win? The War on Terror wasn't just an absurd abstraction legitimating outrageous abuses of power by our executive, it granted the criminals who perpetrated 9/11 the best possible PR followup to their crime. The War on Terror has been a disasterously expensive act of hyperbole. Everyone worries about saddling future generations with the cost of the financial bailouts. What about the cost of this "War"? The same can be said of the War on Drugs boondoggle, btw. Unfortunately the rhetorics we can't afford as a country are all too valuable for politicians.

Nov. 16 2009 10:53 AM
mozo from nyc

hjs --

two words: Godwin's Law.

Nov. 16 2009 10:52 AM
Suki from Williamsburg

Regarding the jury pool. I believe there are many people who can look at this objectively. I have a friend who died in the attacks but that would never influence my ability to be objective in terms of someone's constitutional rights. I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way.

Nov. 16 2009 10:46 AM
hjs from 11211

43] Voter
why is that?
is hitler so sacred?

Nov. 16 2009 10:45 AM
Gene a lawyer from Long Island

Why was the Southern District of New York selected rather than the Eastern District of Virginia? A New York City jury would be more likely to not apply the death penalty during the penalty phase than would a Virginia court. This would frustrate KSM and the other 4 defendants who want to be martyrs. It is likely that KSM will waive defense of waterboarding (torture) because he wants to become a martyr.
As to comment about military trial for people who slip into the country in civilian garb, would the Confederate raiders of St. Albans, Vermont, if captured, have been tried in military court or in civilian court?

Nov. 16 2009 10:42 AM
Jill from westchester

I'm quite surprised by the opposition to this trial being held in NYC. I would have thought most New Yorkers would have a "let us at 'em!" reaction and want to have the trial here.

Nov. 16 2009 10:41 AM
LENORE OAKLANDER from 94th & West End


Nov. 16 2009 10:38 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

I agree with Ivan from NYC [#35]. We have -- ON THE BOOKS -- a profoundly great system.

But if politicians, journalists and the vast majority of Americans take as a GIVEN that there will be a conviction, then there is NOT A CHANCE IN HELL of a trial that will either be fair or perceived as fair.

This trial -- rather than serving to restore whatever standing the US had in the world (and that standing was far poorer than Americans think, even before the atrocities of Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and Bagram) -- this trial could serve to as conclusive proof that the US is the leading hypocrite in the world today.

Nov. 16 2009 10:37 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

And brining in Hitler into any discussion shows the weakness of your opposition.

Nov. 16 2009 10:35 AM
Ken Levis from Manhattan

Why is a trial even necessary? He has confessed. Is that essentially the same as pleading guilty?

Nov. 16 2009 10:35 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Hyperbole is often dangerous and irresponsible, that said:
It is simply unpatriotic and frankly un-American for anyone to question the appropriateness of holding these trials in The United States of American, and specifically New York City.
Those opposed have questioned the civilian court’s ability to try terrorism trials when domestic and international terrorism trials are held frequently in the United States. This shows not a lack of faith in the government, but a lack of faith in the Constitution and the American ideals of liberty and justice.
Those opposed have stated that these prisoners should be held indefinitely without trial.
Those opposed have questioned whether the decision has been made in haste when this process has been going on since 2003.
Those opposed have questioned whether or not the NYPD is competent enough to handle security, the same people they herald as “heroes” of September 11th.
Those opposed say holding these trials in the United States and specifically in New York City will “reopen the wound”; the wound they want to hold open indefinitely. Nothing will console these people. This is tantamount to saying rapists should never be convicted because the victim of rape will have to relive the worst moment of their lives during the trial.
Those opposing these trials say we should hold them as military tribunals because we assume military fervor will trump all. These people support kangaroo courts, but want them with a gloss of legitimacy to ease their minds
Those opposed have said this will inconvenience people’s commutes to work and cost money. Money and an easy commute are more important that bringing admitted terrorist to justice?
Those opposed have said American prisons are incapable of holding these men; this speaks volumes on the faith of the security of American super-max prisons, aside from the fact we have never has an escape from a federal super-max prison.
To question these trials is borderline treason.

Nov. 16 2009 10:34 AM
Jared from Lower East Side

Four things:

Al Qaeda has a consistent history of paying attention to trials and attacks during trials. The last terror trial in NYC, there was a major terror attack here. The 1988 African Embassy Bombers were supposed to be tried on September 11, 2001. That trial had to be postponed.

This trial coming here is opening up feelings that are hard for me. I am sure that the Federal Court, its officers and the NYPD are the best, but terrorism is bigger than they are. Even if the Federal Government did everything to protect us, we would still be at increased risk that all levels of government working perfectly will have trouble addressing. Let's face it: the Federal Government has more than failed to protect NYC before, during and after 9/11/01. They couldn't even protect the Pentagon an hour after the attack. I can go on about how the Federal Government has more than failed to protect us, how it has and is continuing to endanger us here in the USA.

At the very least, this Southern District Court of NY Federal Trial should be held on a Naval ship well out of NY Harbor. During the trial, the Judge, Lawyers, Witnesses/public, the Press should take a Naval vessel from Manhattan to this Naval ship's secret locations.

We need the Feds to check every containers coming into the Port of NY and NJ starting asap, and it should be done well outside of NY Harbor. We need constant and competent Air Force protection of NYC, Indian Point, and other vital facilities near here. This trial is bigger than the NYPD and the Federal Court Police. No insult to them. We will face increased dangers, and economic losses due to tied up facilities and services.

Officer Browne: We are not "rebuilding Ground Zero," we are rebuilding 'the World Trade Center.' The terrorists probably want to bring back Ground Zero. Ground Zero means a place of instant death and complete destruction, with radiating rings of lesser destruction and slower deaths.

Nov. 16 2009 10:34 AM

What difference does it make if there is additional risk? That's the reason we shouldn't do what's right?!

Nov. 16 2009 10:34 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

Mr. Lehrer: Listen to yourself and your guest from NYU. You are both tacitly endorsing the view that the best venue for a trial is that court where conviction is most likely.

That's unjust.

Even the Nazi war criminals had a right to a fair trial. However evil the alleged 9/11 terrorists are, they have a RIGHT to a fair trial.

IF you reject that notion, then end your complaining or criticism about Daniel Pearl or the young Americans currently held in Iran or any American held anywhere.

Nov. 16 2009 10:33 AM
LM from Long Island

The act that they are accused of is a "crime" .. treat them as criminals. If you try and dress it up as something else you are inderctly giving them more creedance. The AG's decsion makes complete sense.

Nov. 16 2009 10:33 AM
Chriss from NJ

2 points:

1) If this is going to be a "fair" trial one must address the issue of acquittal. What then? If there is no chance of acquittal, how can you call it fair?

2) The risk is not another 9/11, the risk can be as "small" as one man, one gun screaming “Allahu akbar!” like Hasan did at Ft. Hood and shooting ANYWHERE in the City.

Nov. 16 2009 10:31 AM
ivan from nyc


Nov. 16 2009 10:30 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Suki [13]--the trial will be held in NYC, but in federal (not state) court. New York State doesn't have the penalty, but federal law does.

And aside from all the questions I've heard about holding the trial here, won't the 1st thing the defense attorneys do be to demand a change of venue? The clip of Holder that the show has been playing has him saying KSM will face an impartial jury, but wouldn't the defense say the trial must be moved exactly because it will be so hard to find jurors in NY who will be able to be impartial?

Nov. 16 2009 10:29 AM
ellen from hackensack

Eric Holder made it very clear in his interview with Jim Lehrer on PBS on Friday that he did NOT consult President Obama on this decision -- rather that he informed Obama while he was on Air Force One on his way to Asia... I'm concerned about Holder's hubris... and the fact that this all coincided with (the well-respected) Greg Craig's departure doesn't help....

Nov. 16 2009 10:29 AM
Oneil from Manhattan

No Death Penalty. No Martyr. Life in Supermax where he disappears in isolation. That's punishment! Death penalty to a person who wants to die is pointless.

Nov. 16 2009 10:27 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

At the time of the 1993 WTC bombing, William Kunster, the great defense lawyer, said that the anti-Arab hysteria was so great that ANY Arab could be convicted of ANY crime in the US. That hysteria has grown far worse since 9/11. Weekly, we find violent racist garbage on American television, American radio. It is spewed by American pundits, politicians and academics.

No one on Earth believes they will get a fair trial in the US. Indeed, the people yowling most loudly for their trial in New York are COUNTING on the trial here being UNFAIR.

Nov. 16 2009 10:27 AM
inwood gal from inwood

How will they ever find a jury of New Yorkers? Everyone I know either knows someone who was at the World Trade Center or knows someone who knows someone. Is there a New Yorker who somehow wasn't affected by the events of 9/11?

Nov. 16 2009 10:26 AM
r from NYC

Even though we do not have full control of terriorism, I feel this is an historic event reverberating of the Nuremberg Trials.

Nov. 16 2009 10:24 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

How many New Yorkers, how many Americans, take a conviction of the alleged 9/11 terrorists to be a foregone conclusion? How many politicians take it as a given?

Perhaps Mr. Lehrer can address the issue of how they could get a fair trial here. It's clear that MOST Americans EXPECT a conviction.

The 9/11 attacks were CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. They could be tried in the International Court at the Hague, but the US OPPOSES the international court because American monsters like Henry Kissinger or Dick Cheney might be prosecuted.

The US has backed itself into a Catch 22 with this. The 9/11 accused should be tried in a venue that is both competent and fair. The most obvious choice is not available to the US because of America's own crimes.

Nov. 16 2009 10:24 AM
Janny from jersey city

The beauty of our justice system is that everyone, EVERYONE, is entitled to a fair and just trial. It is perfectly appropriate that these terrorists are tried here, in NY, the scene of their crimes ---though i am not sure how easy it will be to find an impartial jury. And kudos to Illinois, stepping up and offering to take detainees.

Nov. 16 2009 10:22 AM

Don't people realize that New York is already target number one for terrorist?

Aren't they saying that they are too scared to bring justice to these people in a proper way? We should do what is the correct thing to do, and not bow in any way to our imaginary idea of what terrorists might try to do.

Nov. 16 2009 10:22 AM
hjs from 11211

Suki 13
yes, federal death penalty

Nov. 16 2009 10:22 AM
the truth! from bkny

OMGoodness, I think grief is speaking here, the person in custody is NOT the one asking to be tried in NY!!!

Nov. 16 2009 10:21 AM
Yourgo from Astoria

New Yorkers arent scared children like the rest of the country. They did it to NY, bring them here and let us take care of them. They made a good decision.

And for the rest of the country, grow up.
Its time we clean up the messes of the previous administration no matter how tough and scary they may be.

Nov. 16 2009 10:21 AM
Nick from NYC

I find it hard to believe that anything at this late stage of the game could make people want to attack NYC in particular any more than they already probably do.

The more important issue is whether we conform to international standards for law and human rights, and "walk the walk" in the eyes of the rest of the world, if we are to try to lecture them on human rights. Failing to do that is, I think, a much bigger factor in making us a target, and undermines any hope of claiming some "moral high ground". Another great legacy of the Bush years - thank you Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Bagram, waterboarding, etc. - those really gave us a lot of credibility!

Nov. 16 2009 10:21 AM
M. Walker from Downtown

I'm glad for the sensitivity here, but is what might or might not be on everyone's minds right now worse than reading about a shady camp where murky reports of torture and degradation leaked out over the last 8 years?

Nov. 16 2009 10:21 AM
Michael from Rockville Centre,

I see this trail turning into a dog and pony show.
If I was the defence Lawyer,I would ask for a change of Venue.

Nov. 16 2009 10:21 AM
the truth! from bkny

What risk Brian? If they can cause us harm IN OUR CUSTODY then we have a larger problem, namely our security than just these few detainees!!!

Nov. 16 2009 10:20 AM
Steven Mark from Manhattan UES

If we're trying them as a showcase for our Democracy, we should try the accused in the first capital of this great country and show the world no one gets away with attacking a sleeping giant. Fear and inconvenience is trumped by justice.

Nov. 16 2009 10:20 AM
hjs from 11211

brian l
shame, are u saying the police can't control themselves because of something u saw on tv .

Nov. 16 2009 10:20 AM
the truth! from bkny

What is this caller talking about? Who wants publicity from this? People are soooo confused!!

Nov. 16 2009 10:20 AM
desdemona finch from Brooklyn

On one hand, I think they should be tried here, where the crimes occurred.

On the other, it's comparable to putting a giant target on New York City again. This city seems to be ground zero for unprecedented freak events from 911 to the financial meltdown that have wreaked considerable havoc on the economy.

If another tragedy hits, I don't care if I have to take up a life of crime to put together the money to get out of here, I will.

Nov. 16 2009 10:18 AM
Suki from Williamsburg

hjs - I do too, now. Obama was a professor of constitutional law, after all.

Nov. 16 2009 10:17 AM
Suki from Williamsburg

I totally agree Mike.

Further, the NY criminal courts have a 100% conviction rate on terrorists.

I have a question: Holder says he is going to seek the death penalty. Hasn't New York disestablished capital punishment? If convicted, will they be sentenced to the death penalty on a federal level?

Nov. 16 2009 10:15 AM
Howard in Brooklyn from Brooklyn NY

Let him be tried and executed in the city that he terrorized. Let him see the faces and eyes of the people he affected.

Nov. 16 2009 10:14 AM
Steve from United States

The decision has been made. Get over it. Concentrate on the shenanigans of the banks, the credit card companies and Big Pharma - the current sources of ongoing terrorism toward Americans.

Nov. 16 2009 10:12 AM
Tom from Upper West Side

As devastating as the 9/11 losses to victims' families are and remain, those attacks impacted ALL of us in NYC - and beyond. I feel it appropriate and incredibly important that KSM et al. be brought to justice in our city, the scene of their crimes.

Nov. 16 2009 10:12 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

Giuliani is a fear mongerer. He's a horrible person.

The crime was here, try them here.

Nov. 16 2009 10:11 AM
William from Battery Park City

This is pure stupidity. There is no reason to put the lives of New Yorkers at additional risk. This trial can be done in some remote location, not in one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

Nov. 16 2009 10:11 AM
Francyne from Bronx,NY

While I can see the point of those who think that these terrorists should be tried in NYC where the part of their crime was committed, I disagree.

I believe that this will give additional impetus to terrorists to try something else. I have faith in the NYPD and FBI, etc. but they can't be everywhere.

These people should have been tried and executed at Guantanamo years ago.

Nov. 16 2009 10:11 AM
Andrew B. from New York City

Personally, I think KSM should either be given a full body-waxing or be forced to give one to a hungry grizzly bear.

But I think that Obama is trying desperately to divert people's attention from the horrendous unemployment rate any way he can.

Ultimately, the nation has far more pressing concerns than the venue of terrorist trials.

Nov. 16 2009 10:11 AM

Oh, yeah. I forgot that the terrorists were ALREADY trying to attack New York again. Bush hasn't been around to remind me every five minutes, like he used to.

Nov. 16 2009 10:10 AM
the truth! from bkny

OK what am I missing? What is the big deal about where the trial is held? I will be listening.

Nov. 16 2009 10:09 AM
hjs from 11211

i have faith in our justice system

Nov. 16 2009 10:03 AM

In haste?!!! What are you talking about? We've been debating this stuff since Bush set up this prison camp in 2003. It's been debated all the way to the Supreme Court, who said that it was illegal not to try these people. And I'm sure they had more debate inside the White House since Obama took over.

Congress and the President have the responsibility to clean up this mess of illegality and try this guy in court in as fair a way as possible. If it's reopening old wounds, that's because Bush didn't take them to court at the time and allow justice to be dealt out then.

Nov. 16 2009 09:05 AM
Bobby G from East Village

To me Holder acted in haste to claim jurisdiction for his Justice Department over KSM and the others. A considered debate of the options for this historic decision is in order. Congress and the President have responsibility to the nation and the world.

Nov. 16 2009 08:23 AM

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