The decision to try accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators in New York has brought renewed attention to the thorny problem of how to deal with the detainees at Guantánamo Bay. The announcement followed the Obama administration’s admission that it will not meet its self-imposed January 22, 2010 for closing the Guantánamo detention center, although the administration is still intent on preparing a plan.
Measures to address issues such as indefinite detention, release, and repatriation and trials in U.S. courts continue to be controversial, and the plans for a New York trial have intensified the debate, as pundits and the public raise concerns about the potential security risk in Manhattan and the opportunity for extremists to find new motivations for violence in the proceedings and outcome.
On Wednesday, December 2, Brookings Senior Fellow Benjamin Wittes was available during an online web chat to answer questions about President Obama’s plans for closing Guantánamo, Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s upcoming trial and questions surrounding White House Counsel Greg Craig’s sudden resignation, strongly rumored to have resulted from the missed deadline. Politico’s Fred Barbash moderated the discussion.