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Parties split on N.Y. trials of alleged terrorists

/ Source: The Associated Press

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and other Republicans said Sunday that putting suspected terrorists on trial in New York created unnecessary security issues and indicated the Obama administration's skewed take on the "war on terrorism."

Democrats defended the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused of involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to trial in a courtroom near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center. "You are vindicating this country's basic values," said Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island.

"This seems to be an overconcern with the rights of terrorists and a lack of concern for the rights of the public," Giuliani said on "Fox News Sunday." Giuliani was New York mayor at the time of the 2001 attacks.

Giuliani and other Republicans appearing on the Sunday television news shows questioned why the five alleged terrorists should receive a trial in a civilian court while other Guantanamo Bay detainees will be judged through military tribunals. They also warned that the trial could go on for years and become a platform for the jihadist views of the defendants.

"They are going to do everything they can to disrupt it and make it a circus and allow them to use it as a platform to push their ideology," Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, commenting on Fox about Democratic support for the U.S.-based trials, said, "They seem to be sort of hellbent to do it."

McConnell also said a proposal reportedly being considered by the Obama administration to house Guantanamo prisoners at a prison in northwestern Illinois would be a factor in next year's Senate race in that state.

But Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she has no problem with Holder's decision to try the five alleged terrorists in lower Manhattan. A former senator from New York, Clinton told NBC's "Meet the Press" that she understands that trials will be a painful experience for the families of those who died.

Clinton said she thinks it's important to note that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials believe that holding the trials in the city is appropriate.