Professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators will be tried in military court, top federal law enforcement officials said Monday.
Attorney Gen. Eric Holder said Monday afternoon that it will be up to the U.S. military to decide whether the Guantanamo Bay prison, where the five are held, will be the site for trial or whether the five will be tried together or separately.
The announcement was a complete reversal of the Obama adminstration's decision in 2009. They said then that they wanted Mohammed and his co-conspirators to receive a civilian trial in New York.
"As the president has said, these unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security," Holder said during the announcement.
"Who, where, and how to prosecute terrorists has always been and must remain, the responsibility of the Executive Branch," he said.
Holder said he would rather the 9/11 trials be held in federal court but says politics have gotten in the way.
Still, the political fight is far from over. Many New York city residents and Republicans want to ban all Guantanamo detainees from being brought into the United States.
The four alleged co-conspirators are Waleed bin Attash, a Yemeni who allegedly ran an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan; Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemeni who allegedly helped find flight schools for the hijackers; Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, accused of helping nine of the hijackers travel to the United States and sent them $120,000 for expenses and flight training, and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, a Saudi accused of helping the hijackers with money, Western clothing, traveler's checks and credit cards.
Mohammad was captured by the U.S. in Pakistan in 2003. He is being held by the U.S. military at an undisclosed location.
He allegedly proposed the concept for the Sept. 11 attacks to Osama bin Laden as early as 1996, obtained funding for the attacks from bin Laden, oversaw the operation, and trained the hijackers in Afghanistan and Pakistan.