State and local officials are concerned that the trial of a September 11th terrorist could be held in Western Pennsylvania. Two administration officials say plans are being drafted for locations outside of New York City for the trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged al-Qaida cohorts. Three reported options as a site for the trial are the Western District of Pennsylvania because Flight 93 went down in Somerset County as passengers fought with terrorist hijackers; the eastern Virginia District which includes the area of the Pentagon, one of the terror targets; and White Plains, New York, part of the Southern District of New York. Federal civilian trials are supposed to be held in the district where the crime is committed.
Governor Ed Rendell says he's not "dead set" against the idea but he wants to know why officials would think it would be safer to hold the trial in Pennsylvania than in New York City and how much of the cost for security the federal government would assume. Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato says Pennsylvania residents are "acutely interested in seeing the perpetrators brought to justice" but the last thing the state needs is a terrorist trial that "raises security concerns and places even more of a burden on our taxpayers."