Confrontation

Trying 9/11 Suspects in New York

In deciding to hold the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City, Attorney General Eric Holder is taking a variety of both political and legal risks, and will be forced to navigate difficult issues relating to intelligence and torture. Because many of the detainees were questioned while under duress, and some testimony against them was elicited through torture, the prosecution faces the possibility that some of the evidence will be thrown out. Holder remains confident that the untainted evidence—including a confession from Mohammed himself—is strong enough to ensure a conviction. The trial of Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and four other suspects accused of plotting the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon is an important step in Obama's plan of eventually closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center, and the administration is running the extreme political risk that the Justice Department will fail to secure a conviction. "To the extent that there are political consequences," said Holder, "I'll just have to take my lumps."