White House Seeks New Location for Terror Trials

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WASHINGTON - Prosecuting the 9/11 co-conspirators in New York was supposed to symbolic-- a show of the city's resolve and resilience under the now empty shadow of the World Trade Center.

However, after growing opposition of the decision, the Justice Department is now drafting plan B at the request of the White house to hold the trials elsewhere.

The trial is for self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other suspects.

"I called the White House and told them that I thought it would be a very good idea that they look for alternative sites," New York Sen. Charles Schumer said.

Click play to watch John Jessup's report.  Also, get more insight from CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck here.

The search for a possible change of venue comes after weeks of questions about the failed Christmas Day bomb plot to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner.

Security gaps in that incident fueled doubt about the administration's ability to fight terror and prosecute those cases in federal civilian courts.

Republicans are working on a bill to prevent that from happening.

"Unless the administration comes to its senses and abandons this absurd idea, Republicans-- and I expect some Democrats-- will join us in blocking any funding to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City," Rep. Mike Pence charged.

New York Gov. David Patterson said that a Manhattan trial would be too costly to New Yorkers, both financially and psychologically.

"Every time there is a loud noise, in the two years of the trial, it's going to frighten people, and I think New Yorkers have been through enough," he said.

The administration had little choice after it lost the support of Mayor Michael Bloomberg who reversed his position to hold the trial in New York. The reason? It would cost $200 million a year to provide security around the courthouse.

"It's going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of money," he said. "Can we provide security? Yes. Could you provide security elsewhere? Yeah, a suggestion of a military base is probably a reasonably good one."

No alternative site has been named, but, the setback throws yet another kink in the chain for the Obama administration that was hoping to move to trial sometime this year.

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John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.