American taxpayers keep shelling out big bucks to keep the architect of the 9/11 attacks alive, even as his trial remains in limbo.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been in U.S. custody since 2003, was scheduled to be tried in January, but that was delayed due to the COIVD-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the bill to keep him alive at the Guantanamo Bay detention center where he has been held keeps rising.
The latest estimate is that the federal government has spent $161.5 million keeping Sheikh Mohammed alive until his trial, according to Fox News.
Fox admitted that was using the most conservative estimates.
In a September 2019 article, The New York Times estimated that it costs $13 million per prisoner per year to house inmates at Guantanamo. Using that estimate, Mohammed alone has cost the U.S. $221 million.
Mohammed has confessed to masterminding terror attacks including the 2001 attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Capt. Brian L. Mizer, a Navy lawyer who represents detainees, has called Gitmo “America’s tiniest boutique prison, reserved exclusively for alleged geriatric jihadists,” according to Fox.
Former President Barack Obama sought to close the facility, which was opened during the administration of former President George W. Bush to house suspected terrorists.
Some still say its cost is too high, and the 40 detainees held there should be shifted to the mainland.
“I don’t think there’s any need to have an incredibly expensive facility down at Guantánamo housing, you know, 40 people,” Democratic Rep. Adam Smith said in June 2019, according to The Times. “So ultimately I think they should be transferred here.”
During the presidential campaign last year, the Biden campaign told The New York Times that Biden “continues to support closing the detention center.”
The statement was in line with comments from Obama, whom Biden served as vice president, by saying that the facility “undermines American national security by fueling terrorist recruitment and is at odds with our values as a country.”
In December, The Times reported that the facility is in increasing disrepair.
“Camp 7 is in bad shape, getting worse,” said Brig. Gen. John G. Baker of the Marines, referring to the area of the facility where former CIA prisoners are kept, according to The Times.
“There has been maintenance done that doesn’t seem to fix things,” he said, indicating he had been given the information by a prisoner he would not name “Walls are cracked. You can see light in the walls between the cells. The floor is cracked. The water is inconsistent and hot.”
Mohammed’s death-penalty trial was originally set for Jan. 11, but it was delayed due to the pandemic.
Last week, Terry Adirim, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, had signed an order to vaccinate detainees against the coronavirus as part of the mechanics of moving forward with trials, according to CBS News.
That produced a backlash and then a reversal.
“No Guantanamo detainees have been vaccinated,” Defense Department press secretary John Kirbywrote in a Twitter post Saturday. “We’re pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols. We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.