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9/11 Trial Site Is Up in the Air

After the Obama administration said it would try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a Manhattan civilian court, and after Republicans shrieked about the threat of a terrorist attack, President Obama is back to the drawing board amid speculation that he may pull the civilian option and go with a military commission instead.

Mohammed is to be tried with four others accused of conspiring in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. –JCL

The New York Times:

The Obama administration said Friday that a decision on where to prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four accused of conspiring in the Sept. 11 attacks would not be made “for weeks,” following a flare-up in the debate about whether that trial should take place in civilian court or before a military commission.

The White House sought to dampen speculation that a decision on where to hold a trial might be imminent. That speculation was fanned by a report Friday that aides to President Obama might recommend that he pull the prosecution out of civilian court and send it back to a military commission, where the Bush administration had planned to hold it.

“No decision has been made,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Friday.

Still, in a conference call with reporters, three retired military officers said Friday that holding a Sept. 11 trial in a military commission would be a mistake. All three supported Mr. Obama last year when he signed an order calling for the closing of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

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