The Obama administration seems to have abandoned plans to try 9/11 Pakistani mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Manhattan, following objections from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"It's dead," an unnamed source cited by Politico, a website focusing on politics, said.He will be tried domestically, but officials have not decided where, it said, citing an unnamed senior administration official. Options for the trial include a military base.
The decision to scrap the downtown terror trial capped weeks of escalating criticism from business and community leaders and came two days afer Mayor Bloomberg reversed course and came out against the plan.
"New York is out," an administration official told the Washington Post Friday night. "We're considering other options."
Bloomberg first backed the idea of trying Mohammed in downtown's federal courthouse when the decision was announced by Attorney General Eric Holder last month.
Bloomberg bowed to complaints from opponents who feared the security burdens and cost would damage local business for years to come and expose the city to a possible retaliatory terror attack. The mayor called Holder on Thursday to ask the Justice Department reconsider holding the trial in the city. Hours later, the White House directed the department to explore other venues.
The Obama administration took heat over holding the trial in New York City almost since the plan was announced, including slams from Governor David Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat who represents lower Manhattan.
Losing Bloomberg's support - along with Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand just hours later - apparently forced the White House to give up trying Mohammed and four co-defendants in the same neighbourhood they're accused of attacking, the New York Daily News said.
A leaked plan to include more federal security aid to New York in Monday's budget proposal did not sway Bloomberg or his allies.
The White House is still committed to trying Mohammed and his four co-defendants in a civilian court, officials cited by the Daily News said, but the Justice Department is looking at other venues such as a military base or federal court in another district.