A notorious terror suspect could be put on trial in the District.
Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, is the suspected mastermind behind the 2002 bombing of a Bali nightclub in Indonesia. The attack killed 202 people.
He was also allegedly Osama bin Laden's point man in Indonesia until his capture in August 2003.
Authorities already have begun discussing the intense security measures needed to bring Hambali and others before a Washington federal judge, the officials said.
Conducting a trial in the nation's capital would be a major shift from the policies of former President George W. Bush. The Bush administration touted the success of interrogating terror suspects in secret CIA prisons overseas. The former president said such interrogations helped crack the allege 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and led authorities to Hambali.
Obama already has decided that Mohammed will face trial in New York and has said he believes criminal courts can handle even the most dangerous terrorists. If Hambali's trial were held in Washington's federal courthouse, the country's most significant terrorism trials in generations will be conducted in the two cities targeted in the Sept. 11 attacks.
After announcing that Mohammed would face trial in New York, Obama drew criticism from Republicans who said it would make New York even more of a terrorist target, an argument that is certain to be repeated if Hambali is brought to Washington.
Obama is one week away from his self-imposed deadline to close Guantanamo Bay, a deadline he acknowledges he will miss.
In 2007, Hambali appeared before a preliminary military tribunal and denied any connection with al-Qaida.