I believe the reason this administration is putting the 9/11 terrorists on trial in civil courts has a couple of purposes.
One reason is that the health care bill is in the Senate and Reid will use every slimy Senate rule to cram it through. This is such an affront to the victims of the attack that it will divert the dialogue away from that.
The other purpose is to put the Bush administration on trial by proxy. They want the testimony of KSM about being waterboarded. In civil court this will give the impression of a mere criminal being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. Their media lap dogs will obediently take this and disperse it 24/7 into the common dialogue. They claim waterboarding won't come into evidence. Just words. Watch.
That's why Holder came on strong about seeking the federal death penalty. He wants to establish the impression that he represents regular Americans. However, the reality is he, Obama and the Black Liberationists have far more in common, as to a worldview of America, with KSM than they do with the normal American. Both hate the America of George Bush and Dick Cheney.