Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Holder Never Consulted With New York Before Ordering Gitmo 5 Trials Held There
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
NEW YORK - President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have been quick to - correctly - point out that no city is better prepared than New York to protect itself against another terrorist attack - and that they both believe that the NYPD will be able to provide sufficient security during the trials of the Gitmo Five here.
The implication in their remarks was that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly signed off on the decision. Or at least were consulted and offered input.
But now we're hearing from the commissioner - echoed by the mayor - that they were left in the dark when the decision was made.
And while there are no specific increased threats of terror as a result of the decision, Kelly ways it doesn't do anything to minimize the city's vulnerability either.
Kelly is a gentleman. So he understates the obvious. He's telegraphing without actually saying it with those few remarks that he's pissed - and that his job has just gotten immensely more difficult.
Of course, the attorney general and the president have every right in the world to order the trials held in federal district court in Manhattan. But to do so without first consulting with Kelly and Bloomberg is unconscionable.
The revelation has shocked Debra Burlingame, co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America. Burlingame, who is organizing a rally in opposition to the decision outside the courthouse, says the news, "makes it crystal clear that the attorney general’s decision to bring Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to New York City was pre-ordained, and he wasn’t about to ask for input that would have resulted in his having to defend the indefensible.”
Security consultant and former New York City cop Gary Moskowitz says this is symptomatic of the problem in the law enforcement community. "People," he said, "are still not talking to one another."
The Homeland Security Department was supposed to obviate this problem in a 9/11 world. But information, he says, is still not being shared between agencies - a problem that contributed to the September 11 attacks.
"New York is a target as it is," Moskowitz, founder of the Tzedek Task Force on Counter Terrorism. "There is plenty of space in this country where you could have a trial."
New York, he said, is difficult to defend because of the dense population around the courthouse.
"They cannot defend properly should something happen."