9/11 Trials/Guantanamo Detainees
The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay holds some of the world’s most dangerous terrorist detainees, including admitted 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In January 2009, two days after taking the oath of office, President Obama signed an Executive Order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within one year. The President also suspended military commission proceedings of the terrorist detainees. However, the President’s lack of a workable closure plan and public opposition to closure of Guantanamo resulted in the President keeping the facility open.
Yet in November 2009, President Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced plans to move Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to New York City for trial in civilian court. Again, the Administration’s plan met intense public and bipartisan opposition. As a result, Attorney General Holder later reversed course, announcing that the terrorist and his co-conspirators would face trial at Guantanamo within the military commission system, which the Obama Administration was forced to reinstate when faced with the reality of wartime conditions.
The Committee continues to closely monitor the Obama Administration’s handling of terrorist detention and trial decisions. For example, following the overseas capture of al-Shabaab-tied foreign terrorist Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, the Obama Administration appropriately held and interrogated him aboard a U.S. Navy ship, gaining valuable intelligence. But then, instead of transferring Warsame to Guantanamo for a military commission trial, the Obama Administration discreetly brought him to New York City for trial in Federal civilian court, suggesting that the Administration will continue to combat a wartime enemy with law enforcement tactics.