By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
It's looking more and more like the trials of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators won't be held in New York City.
News reports say that a deal has already been made - but not yet announced - to move the cases back to the military court system.
According to the reports, a panel of White House advisers will make the recommendation.
In return, the administration will press forward with its previously announced but now-delayed plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
The decision to move the trial to federal court in Manhattan will ill-advised from the start.
First, it was a psychological nightmare. Ordering the trial in a courthouse within easy walking distance of the World Trade Center site.
Secondly, the administration failed to first consult with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his police commissioner, Ray Kelly. Both were blindsided - and faced with the prospect of paying for security that could have resulted in the cuts of other services to New Yorkers. To those who would have been affected - especially nearby business owners who would have been stuck within a ring of security that would have driven customers away - it would have been like being victimized a second time.
Thirdly, (and there was and remains some debate on this point) holding the trials in a civilian criminal court would have been a legal nightmare. The five had been arrested and treated as enemy combatants. A process that has different rules than the federal court system. Their defense lawyers would have had a field day - filing motions to dismiss evidence because it wasn't procured in a manner that would be deemed legal in the criminal justice system.
Finally, there's the issue of the defendants using the trial as a platform to further spew their hate.
In the end, the fact that the Obama administration didn't anticipate the kind of push back it got from the decision to hold the trials in federal court is indicative of a degree of political naivety and arrogance. Hopefully, the president and his team have learned something from the experience.