Despite strong opposition to the idea, Attorney General Eric Holder said New York is still "not off the table" for trials of 9/11 suspects, according to The New York Times.
It will be a "number of weeks" before the White House-led review of Holder's decision to try Sept. 11 suspects is concluded, but instead of quashing the controversy over holding the trials on American soil, Holder ignited it all over again.
"New York is not off the table," Holder said. "The Southern District of New York, for instance, is a much larger place than simply Manhattan."
Holder made the statement during a three-and-a-half hour testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has raised concerns about Holder's handling of terrorism cases, according to The Washington Post.
According to theThe statement resulted in immediate backlash from members of Congress, including Democrats.
"We know the administration is not going to hold the trial in New York. They should just say it already," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) said he was becoming impatient with the Obama administration's indecisiveness on how it would continue to detain prisoners it cannot prosecute because of the nature of the evidence against them, yet who are also considered too dangerous to release.
"This is an issue that is difficult for us to defend, when we . . . don't have a policy to defend," Cardin said.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Holder is placing Americans in danger by not letting go of his "presumption" to try terrorist suspects in civilian courts, instead of military commissions.
"Your actions have shaken my confidence in your leadership at the Department of Justice," Sessions said. "The course you've chosen on national security is steering us into a head-on collision with reality. . . . Pretending that terrorists can safely be treated as common criminals will not make it so."