Lawmakers in New York and Illinois were quick to recognize that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s trial offered a new opportunity to secure billions of additional taxpayer funds.
Both states are reeling from the combined effect of economic slowdown and years of profligate spending on government, grown far beyond what the tax base will support. Thanks to President Obama’s decision to transfer terrorists from GITMO to U.S. soil, both states, and the city of New York, are going to be paid almost $3 billion dollars to secure, transport, administer, house, and contend with the requirements associated with having these terrorists in the United States.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the four other terrorists and all Americans associated with the trial, will require rigorous, differentiated security measures: twenty-four hour a day surveillance, transportation, housing and judicial security. Certainly, New York will be required to raise its threat level to better prepare and respond to the new threat of sympathetic jihadists using the trial, as a showpiece of their own, to make a violent, retaliatory public statement.
Federal security and law enforcement agencies, such as DHS, FBI and US Marshals will be working round the clock to provide the appropriate security, but will be unable to do all of the work required. New York, state and city, law enforcement officers will be required to share the burden, and will expect compensation from the federal government to provide this level of support. Heavily-unionized, public employees in both states, are about to receive the most coveted of all Labor Union prizes, unlimited overtime that extends for years.
Bringing KSM to trial will be hugely expensive and will essentially represent a federalization of much of the New York state and city law enforcement and public services for the 5+ years that the trial process is likely to run.
In fact, Senator Schumer immediately alerted Attorney General, Eric Holder, that New York would require federal subsidies, lots of federal subsidies, to host the KSM circus, to cover the huge amounts of overtime and additional personnel required. Schumer received an open-ended commitment from President Obama’s point man, while Holder was under oath, that the feds would cover the costs associated with the KSM trial in New York.
Senator Schumer’s entrepreneurial spirit emerged quickly; he requested an immediate down payment of $75 Million to get things rolling. Those costs will likely grow exponentially, as overtime pay and other infrastructure requirements start to kick in during the planning before the KSM trial begins. Schumer’s down payment request almost equals the entire, annual operating budget of GITMO.
New York City’s finest, are the largest city police force in the U.S., with approximately 40,000 policemen, but that won’t be nearly enough. And, remember, firemen, paramedics, ambulance drivers, subway security will also be affected with more rigorous requirements. Overtime for everyone! Overtime requirements may please union leaders, since compensation negotiations will undoubtedly ensue, but this requirement comes at a time when federal, state and local law enforcement budgets are already strained.
Unbeknownst to most Americans, the Federal Protective Service (FPS), currently a part of ICE, within the Department of Homeland Security, is tasked with securing federal buildings. They will also be racking up overtime. Of course, FPS comes with its own problems. Since joining the Department of Homeland Security five years ago, FPS has managed to incur over a half a billion dollars deficit in their spending. So, before more can be done with FPS and federal buildings, the U.S. government will likely have to settle the outstanding indebtedness of FPS.
Security, federal, state, and local facilities with the necessary upgrades, as well as costs, from changes in procedural requirements, will end up costing the American taxpayer upwards of $3Billion when the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is finally done. By contrast, the cost of a military trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, using the existing infrastructure, procedures and security of GITMO would cost taxpayers one-one-hundredth (1/100) of what our country will spend for the next three to five years to pander to the Attorney General’s need for a big stage and host a trial in NYC.
Illinois lawmakers also see housing terrorists as an opportunity for economic growth and is anxious to secure additional taxpayer revenues to federalize an abandoned prison, that they hope will soon house other terrorists transported from GITMO. Senator Dick Durbin eagerly offered Illinois as the ideal location to house the remaining prisoners from Guantanamo, and tap the taxpayers for the $1 billion in federal money that it will require.
Senator Durbin shows little concern for what is best for the country nor much concern about the potential national dangers of housing terrorists on U.S. soil. Instead, he is focused on the federal funds that will flow into Illinois. I know, from direct experience, that Durbin has a history of pressuring government officials to push funding to his state, regardless of the merits of the project.
Durbin and Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, claim the $85+ million dollar, Thomson prison scheme would create about 3,000 jobs at the prison and in the surrounding communities. Undoubtedly prisons generate jobs, but the job creation numbers appear to be inflated. Blagojevich built the Thomson Correctional Facility prison, which is now empty, with the empty promise that he was going to bring jobs to the state, which is exactly the same empty promise that Durbin advanced when he convinced small businesses to move out of their business locations in order to build a new courthouse, just 60 miles down the road in Rockford, IL. Now, Senator Durbin sees housing terrorists in Illinois as a way to finally make good on these failed promises of the past.
State and local government budgets across the nation are strained, but surely there are better business opportunities to help spur development than using terrorists as an economic engine?
Moreover, with the nation running unsustainable deficits, why would our national leaders choose a solution that is not only fraught with dangerous complications but is, undoubtedly, the most costly solution possible?