Why Haven’t the 9/11 Defendants in Guantanamo Been Put on Trial?


Karen Greenberg was quoted in an NBC News article about the delayed trial of 9/11 defendants in Guantanamo Bay.

“The fact we haven’t tried the 9/11 conspirators, who have been in U.S. custody for over a dozen years, continues to do great harm to the victims of 9/11, both those affected directly by the attack and the greater American public as well,” said Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at the Fordham Law School in New York.

As Greenberg notes, only one half of the famous promise President Bush delivered to Congress after 9/11, has been fulfilled.

“Justice may have been brought to them,” said Greenberg of the terrorists responsible for 9/11, “but they have not been brought to justice.”

Some in the intelligence community wonder how it helps counterterrorism efforts to mount a trial and “give these guys a platform, open a scab,” as one U.S. intelligence official put it.

Greenberg disagrees.

“This kind of pontificating would not happen in a federal court. Judges control their courtrooms. How many trials have we seen? It’s happened. But it doesn’t mean anything.”

No matter how things work out, costs continue to mount, with some estimates putting the total expenditures so far at $300 million. That total includes infrastructure, legal, and medical costs — even the bill for the Colorado National Guard military police who rotate in and out of Guantanamo.

But the real cost, said Greenberg, is the cost of delayed justice. “What’s most damaging is the damage to the American psyche.


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