U.S. v. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, et al.

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In current usage, U.S. v. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, et al. is the trial, in a U.S. civilian criminal court, of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other defendants charged with planning and directing the 9/11 attack. The term also can refer to an earlier attempt to try them before a Military Commission at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, during the George W. Bush Administration.

Moving the proceedings to an open Federal District Court in Manhattan, New York City is a controversial policy decision by Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama. There has been continuing pressure both to move it out of New York, and also to send it back to the military.

Holder announced the decision on 13 November 2009, also stating that certain other defendants would still go before military commissions.[1]


  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
  • Ramzi Binalshibh
  • Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi
  • Khallad, also known as Walid bin Attash
  • Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi

Change in venue

While the Administration has not made a formal announcement, the Washington Post reported that it has been agreed to move it out of New York City. The pressure was not from Republicans alone; Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote a letter to the President, saying

Without getting into classified details, I believe we should view the attempted Christmas Day plot as a continuation, not an end, of plots to strike the United States by al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Moreover, New York City has been a high-priority target since at least the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. The trial of the most significant terrorist in custody would add to the threat. [2]

Arguments in favor

Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said "As long as these trials occur in federal criminal courts with proper due-process protections, the actual venue doesn't matter very much. All of our federal courts are equipped and able to handle such cases. That's where they belong and that's where they should stay." [2]

Arguments against


  1. Attorney General (November 11, 2009), Departments of Justice and Defense Announce Forum Decisions for Ten Guantanamo Bay Detainees, Department of Justice. Retrieved on January 5, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Administration drops plans to try alleged 9/11 conspirators in N.Y.C.", Washington Post, 29 January 2010