(12:10 p.m. ET: Since we first published this post, NPR and other news outlets have confirmed that the Obama administration is re-thinking how to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other alleged 9/11 conspirators -- and may bring them before a military tribunal rather than civilian courts. Read through to see how the story has developed.)

By Mark Memmott

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who claims to have masterminded the 9/11 attacks, may be tried before a military tribunal after all, The Washington Post and Associated Press are reporting.

According to the Post:

"President Obama's advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City."

The AP says that:

"In a potential reversal, White House advisers are close to recommending that President Barack Obama opt for military tribunals for self-professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four of his alleged henchman, senior officials said."

As the Post adds, "if Obama accepts the likely recommendation of his advisers, the White House may be able to secure from Congress the funding and legal authority it needs to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and replace it with a facility within the United States. The administration has failed to meet a self-imposed one-year deadline to close Guantanamo."

If this happens, it would be a 180-degree turn for the administration, which has been arguing that "KSM" and the others should be brought to justice in civilian courtrooms in part to show the world that the American judicial system can handle such cases. Critics, such as Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have argued that KSM and the others are enemy combatants and should not be treated as criminals.

Update at 9:02 a.m. ET. On NPR's Newscast a moment ago, anchor Paul Brown reported that "NPR has (also) learned that the White House is close to deciding how to try" the men.

Update at 9:30 a.m. ET. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports that:

"NPR has (also) learned that the administration is close to deciding that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- the self-professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks -- will be tried in a military court."

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has now filed a report for the network's newscast. While the White House says a final decision hasn't been made, Dina reports that "people familiar with the discussions said that it looks like the five men will be tried in a military court":

Update at 12:08 p.m. ET. CBS News' Mark Knoller reports that White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters a moment ago that "no decision has been made," but that the White House has been re-evaluating the trials issue since New York State politicians raised concerns about holding the trials in Manhattan.

categories: Crime, Legal, Obama Administration, Terrorism

7:07 - March 5, 2010