Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that the five defendants on trial in military commissions in connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks “would be on death row as we speak,” had Holder been allowed to go forward with his plan to try them in federal courts instead.
Addressing delays in the high-profile trial of accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Holder said: “Not to be egocentric about this, But that I was right.”
Holder made the comments during an unrelated news conference, CNN reports. The trial against Mohammed may not begin until January 2015.
Holder addressed the delays in the high-profile trial of and four others in a military commission at the detention center during an unrelated press conference Monday, CNN reports.
Four years ago, Holder announced plans to try the alleged 9/11 terrorists in federal court in Manhattan. But in the face of withering criticism that the suspects shouldn’t be brought to the scene of the crime, Holder ultimately reversed the decision and moved the case to a military court at Guantanamo Bay. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly also argued holding a federal trial would cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars in security costs and force authorities to close off parts of lower Manhattan.
Holder, who blasted Congress in 2011 for interfering with the case, said the trial delay was example of what happens when politics interfere with the law enforcement.