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EDITORIAL: NYC can handle trials but feds should pay for security

New York will host the trials of terror suspects including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but it shouldn't have to foot the bill for the heightened security this will demand. Washington should write that check.

Meeting the threat will cost the city about $216 million in the first year, mostly in police overtime - even though federal officials will take the lead in trial security. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Charles Schumer have asked President Barack Obama to include a special line item for trial security in his 2010 budget, due out next month.

New York has proved it can handle incendiary trials. For instance the blind sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman, and nine others, were convicted in Manhattan of conspiracy in October 1995, after a nine-month trial. Rahman was sentenced to life in prison for his part in a plot to bomb five New York landmarks.

Still, given the high-decibel controversy over Obama's decision to put terrorists on trial inside the United States, New York is taking one for the administration. And the muscular security the trials demand will strain the New York Police Department, whose ranks have dwindled in the years since 9/11.

With the state and city facing huge budget deficits, taxpayers here have enough money woes. The nation should cover the cost to secure the city where suspected terrorists have a date with justice. hN