Attorney General Eric Holder is leaving open the possibility of trying professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before a military commission instead of the civilian trial originally planned for New York City.
"At the end of the day, wherever this case is tried, in whatever forum, what we have to ensure is that it's done as transparently as possible and with adherence to all the rules," Holder told The Washington Post in an interview published in Friday's editions.
"If we do that, I'm not sure the location or even the forum is as important as what the world sees in that proceeding."
Opposition from New York officials has forced the Obama administration to reconsider plans to put Mohammed on trial in federal court in lower Manhattan, near where the World Trade Center was felled after it was hit by hijacked airliners.
City and state officials and many congressional Republicans argue that the high-security trial would put New Yorkers at risk of further attacks, cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in security expenses and take a staggering toll on nearby businesses.
Holder still maintains that a civilian trial would be the best option for the case and "best for our overall fight against al-Qaida."
President Barack Obama said in a CBS television interview that he has not ruled out holding the trial in New York federal court but was taking into account the objections of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city's police.