On Second Thought

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January 28, 2010 9:00 a.m.

I just trashed Mayor Bloomberg for seemingly pulling the plug on the 9/11 terror trials. But I just got an email from a longtime reader whose opinion I’ve learned to respect and trust who has a very different take.

Bloomberg isn’t afraid that the security of the city will be jeopardized by the trial; he’s afraid that security for the trial will jeopardize the city.

The prevailing attitude in New York after the attacks was that they shouldn’t be allowed to disrupt ordinary life any more than necessary. But the Feds are talking about the need to erect more than 2,000 interlocking steel barriers, and flooding the court district with uniformed officers. The preliminary estimate is that security alone could cost $1 billion over five years. In a word, that’s crazy.

There are two reasonable alternatives here. The first is to scale down the security theater to a size commensurate with the actual risks – this is hardly the first high-profile trial to be held in the southern district. But if we’re not going to be reasonable about security, we might as well move the trial to a location that can be secured more easily and with less adverse impact.

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