If you happened to be braving the bitter cold near the federal courthouse in Manhattan Tuesday morning, you probably didn’t notice anything unusual. Although Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and alleged al Qaeda spokesman, Suleiman Abu Ghayth, was scheduled to appear at a hearing inside, there was no obvious sign of it, except maybe the Homeland Security van parked outside. Inside the fortified courthouse, a couple of extra guards manned a metal detector set up outside Judge Lewis Kaplan’s courtroom, but they mostly looked bored since there was hardly anyone lining up to get in and not very much to do.
That’s how it should be. Accused terrorists are tried all the time in U.S. federal courts with little extra burden on security officers and without incident. Only in the case of the five alleged perpetrators of the September 11 attacks did the plan cause such an uproar that their case was moved to another country. More