Feds weigh N.Y. trial for Gitmo detainee

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors are considering sending a Guantanamo detainee named Majid Khan to New York to face a federal civilian trial, a person familiar with the discussions said Monday.

Khan is one of fewer than 20 detainees at the detention center labeled high-value by the U.S. government, meaning someone thought to be a senior member of al-Qaida, or someone with extensive knowledge of the terrorist network.

A legal U.S. resident, Khan lived in Baltimore before moving to Pakistan. Counterterrorism officials say he eventually met reputed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The Justice Department is weighing whether to put him on trial in federal court in Brooklyn, but no final decision has been made, according to a person speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the deliberations.

Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said the agency and the Defense Department continue to review the Guantanamo cases and said no final decisions have been made about where to send detainees since Attorney General Eric Holder announced Nov. 13 that Mohammed and four accused henchmen in the Sept. 11 plot would be tried in federal court in lower Manhattan.

Military officials say that in 2001, Khan met and spoke with a man named Iyman Faris. Years later, Faris pleaded guilty in an alleged plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.

During that 2001 meeting, Khan allegedly said that he wanted to wear an explosive vest on a suicide mission to kill Pakistan's then-president, Pervez Musharaff.

Once Khan traveled to Pakistan, the government says, Mohammed asked Khan to help ferry $50,000 to an al-Qaida affiliate in Thailand. Officials say that money was used to fund a bomb attack on a J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, in August 2003. The attack killed 12 people and injured 144 others, including two U.S. citizens.