- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said Wednesday that the Obama administration had put the country on a vulnerable, defensive footing against terrorism by deciding to try accused September 11 terror plotters in a civilian New York City court.

“It sends a signal to the terrorists that we are not taking this seriously as we did before,” said Mr. Giuliani, adding that the move demonstrates President Obama does not consider the fight against terrorism a real “war.”

“One of the things the Bush administration did for us is to put us on offense against terrorism and I think that one of the things the Obama administration has now accomplished — this being the final of three or four other actions they’ve taken — is putting us back on defense,” said Mr. Giuliani, a former Republican presidential hopeful.

“And I think that puts us in a very vulnerable position, not just in New York but in general, domestically [and] internationally.”

Mr. Giuliani made the remarks to reporters in a conference call organized by the Republican National Committee.

The call coincided with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s appearance before a Senate panel, where he defended the decision announced Friday to prosecute self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his suspected cohorts in federal court.

The decision is part of the administration’s ongoing process to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where Mr. Mohammed and other top terrorist suspects are currently being held.

At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Mr. Holder said opponents of the move spoke “from a position of ignorance.”

Mr. Giuliani said bringing the suspected 9/11 terrorists to New York city not only delivered a “symbolic” blow to the fight against terrorism, but also increased the security risk for the city and needlessly forced New Yorkers to relive the horrors of the attack on the World Trade Center towers.

“I hope and pray that the administration realizes this was a mistake and reverses itself and tries these people, if they are truly combatants in war and the attorney general truly believes we are at war, … in a military tribunal,” Mr. Giuliani said.

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