New York Democrats: Trying KSM in NYC is Kind of Risky

Remember back when Charlie Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and the rest of the New York Democrats thought that trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City posed no significant security risk? Remember how they said we could easily guarantee the safety of New Yorkers whose memories of 9/11 remained fresh? Well, apparently they’re suddenly worried, because now they’re concerned enough about costs that they’re demanding the federal government pay billions for it:

As the City of New York prepares for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and the four co-defendants involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we write to urge your Administration to include a separate line item in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2011 budget request that would fully reimburse the City of New York for all security and other expenses related to providing a safe and secure trial. Without this critical federal support, it is estimated that this trial could force New York City to pay hundreds of millions in police protection and security overtime costs that it cannot now afford.

KSM’s federal trial will take place just blocks away from the site of the World Trade Center attacks. Many of us lost family members, friends or neighbors on that tragic day, and the trauma of 9-11 is still very real for countless New Yorkers. Our nation should not add to the emotional burden from that horrible day by failing to provide the necessary federal funds to keep New York safe during this trial…

The trial of KSM will require an unprecedented amount of security, both to protect the judicial proceedings at the Courthouse and the surrounding area. Without full federal reimbursement, the costs of providing security for this trial will significantly compromise the NYPD’s efforts to prevent crime and terrorism, and further burden the budgets of New York City and New York State, both of which are already reeling from the severe economic downturn.

New York’s budget situation has not changed much in the last 6 weeks; if the city ‘could not afford’ the security for a trial, it was foreseeable at that time. Why didn’t these 19 Democrats make this a condition for their support – or even raise it as an issue – before they eagerly endorsed this risky scheme? Similarly, I can’t recall any of these 19 warning that New York city residents would be at greater risk of ordinary street crimes because of resources devoted to the terror trials.

Furthermore, why are these 19 Democrats suddenly sensitive to the ’emotional burden’ imposed on those who were impacted by the 9/11 attacks? Surely it would have been more appropriate to raise such concerns before President Obama decided to bring terrorists to New York City. Instead, New York City’s Democrats discounted and downplayed the opposition of the people of New York. Back then, they told us New York ought to be proud to host the terror trials; now suddenly it’s ‘traumatic.’ Why don’t these Democrats simply tell the voters of New York that this is the burden they bear for the great honor of hosting Al Qaeda?

Do you know what would have cost no additional money and imposed no ’emotional burden’ on New York? Trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at Guantanamo Bay – which was specifically designed to house people like him and to allow adjudication of any charges. Instead, we will now pay the cost of closing Guantanamo, pay the cost of acquiring a new prison in Illinois, pay the cost of trying KSM in New York, and bear the risk of any attacks associated with the trial. It might have helped if Congressman McMahon – the leader of the letter – and his friends had spoken up before the administration made its decision.

I would be remiss if I did not let the voters of New York know the names of all 19 Democrats who demand a 30 pieces of silver for having stood silent while the President decided to try KSM in their midst. I’ll italicize the names of those whose cowardice is most likely to prove politically costly:

Michael E. McMahon
Yvette D. Clarke
Anthony D. Weiner
Joseph Crowley
Gary L. Ackerman
John J. Hall
Jerrold Nadler
Carolyn B. Maloney
Scott Murphy
Edolphus Towns
Steve Israel
Timothy H. Bishop
Carolyn McCarthy
Eliot L. Engel
Maurice D. Hinchey
Eric J. J. Massa
José E. Serrano
Michael Arcuri
Paul Tonko

By the way, residents of Staten Island may wish to take particular note of Mike McMahon’s decision to stay quiet until the die was cast, then speak up. McMahon is being challenged by Michael Allegretti and Mike Grimm. If you think McMahon should have expressed his security concerns when it might have made a difference, give some money to either or both.