Tales from the Trail

Holder huddles with New York team on 9/11 trials

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday flew to New York to huddle with his team that will be in charge of prosecuting and imprisoning the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

GUANTANAMO-USA/The closed-door meeting at the federal courthouse in downtown Manhattan included the prosecutors from the Southern District of New York and Eastern District of Virginia as well as representatives of the FBI, Bureau of Prisons, the Marshals Service, and the New York Police Department, according to an administration official.

A spokeswoman for Holder declined to provide details about the meeting. NBC News reported on Tuesday that a grand jury was hearing evidence against the self-professed mastermind of the attacks Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The five men are not expected to arrive in New York until early next year at the earliest because first the Obama administration must give Congress 45 days advance notice about how they will secure the prisoners and address any security issues.

Holder has come under blistering criticism from Republicans for deciding to try the accused 9/11 conspirators in U.S. criminal court instead of a military court, arguing that they should not be brought to American soil from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The First Draft: NYC awaits day in court 8 years after 9/11

Today seems a day of numbers: 8, 11, 5, 3000, 13. Put another way, more than 8 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the brutally violated City of New York learns that 5 men accused in the deaths of the nearly 3,000 people will face an actual criminal trial — in New York. SECURITY COMMISSION

Oh, yeah, and the news comes on Friday the 13th.

The lead defendant, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, initially confessed to masterminding the 2001 attacks that set the United States on the road to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he later told a Pentagon war crimes court that the interrogators “were putting many words in my mouth.” He also said he wants to be put to death and become a martyr.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will formally announce later today that KSM and four other defendants will be sent to New York City to stand trial for the attacks.

White House waffles on Guantanamo Bay closing deadline

President Barack Obama is finding out what his predecessor experienced — closing Guantanamo Bay is easier said than done.

As early as May 2006, former President George W. Bush said he wanted to close the prison for terrorism suspects in Cuba that was constructed during his administration after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. GUANTANAMO/ACTIVITIES

But the Bush administration found it was not easy getting other countries to accept some of the prisoners and faced a dilemma of what to do with other prisoners who could not be released.