Citing unnamed senior administration officials, Fox News Thursday reported alternative locations are needed because Congress would almost certainly deny funds to hold the trials in New York.
"The discussions are under way in case the option of holding the trials in New York City is foreclosed upon at either the state or the federal level," an Obama administration official said.
The administration has been publicly committed to trying five men, including the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, not far from where terrorists flew passenger jetliners into the World Trade Center. Word of the turnabout came a day after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg changed his mind about holding terror trials in his city, saying they should be conducted in a more secure location.
Bloomberg said such a venue, possibly a military base, would be less disruptive and cost less. His remarks were similar to opposition voiced by Wall Street executives, the real estate industry and neighborhood groups, The New York Times reported.
"It's going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people," Bloomberg said at a news conference. "My hope is that the attorney general and the president decide to change their mind."
Congressional Republicans threatened to block the trials from being held in New York through financial maneuvering. Six senators wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder Tuesday, urging him to abandon the idea.