The first court appearance for Osama bin Laden's former spokesman unfolded in New York City without the fuss that a previous, similar proceeding produced.
There were no signs of unusual police activity Friday for the appearance by Sulaiman Abu Ghaith.
Security concerns shadowed the Obama administration's initial plans for a civilian trial for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Officials ultimately changed course.
Some public officials who had warned three years ago that the very presence of al-Qaida militants in New York could put civilians at risk say they don't have the same fears now.
Former state homeland security adviser Michael Balboni says much has changed since 2009: Bin Laden is dead; Al-Qaida's ability to strike the U.S. is diminished; and Abu Ghaith isn't considered an al-Qaida leader.