Report: Americans Have Spent $161.5 Million Housing Suspected Terrorists At Guantanamo Bay

Taxpayers have reportedly paid an estimated $161.5 million to house Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, keeping him alive so that he can stand trial, according to Fox News.

The sheer cost of housing, feeding, and treating the Guantanamo Bay detainees makes it, the outlet reports, the “most expensive prison on earth.”

“The U.S. government has spent an estimated $161.5 million housing the suspected mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks,” Fox News noted. “And up until Saturday, Mohammed was to receive a coronavirus vaccine so that he could be tried and put to death if convicted.”

“A lack of vaccinations had reportedly made it difficult for federal prosecutors to move forward with war crimes hearings at the base, which is why Terry Adirim, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs under President Biden signed an order Jan. 27 to vaccinate the suspected terrorists,” according to Fox, quoting the New York Post.

The decision was also reportedly motivated by concern that the international community would look critically on the U.S.’s decision to hold suspected jihadists in close quarters if there were to be a coronavirus outbreak.

That decision was reversed Saturday night after a public outcry that noted most essential workers have yet to receive their vaccines, even as alleged terrorists – including Mohammed, who confessed to orchestrating the attack back in 2003 after being captured – were given priority access to the COVID-19 shot.

The story though, apparently made Fox reporters curious as to how much is spent per prisoner, per year, as the suspected terrorists await trial. Using numbers released to National Public radio in 2020, Fox calculated that it costs U.S. taxpayers between $9 million and $13 million per prisoner per year. Given that around 770 inmates have cycled through GitMo over the course of its operation, that brings the grand total to around $161 million.

That number is in addition to the $6 billion spent to operate and staff “GitMo,” to charter planes to ferry prisoners back and forth to the island, and plenty of government devices “destroyed each year to” prevent “spills of classified information.” It is also in addition to legal costs – an astounding $60 million.

The number is also growing. Per Fox, cost per prisoner has risen steadily over the past few years as detainees like Mohammed have aged, creating what one Navy lawyer termed a “boutique prison” for “alleged geriatric jihadists.”

Former President Barack Obama tried to alleviate some of the cost by pushing to transfer around 40 high-value prisoners to American soil during his tenure, but members of Congress blocked the change, citing both security concerns and potential legal issues with housing suspected terrorists within the continental United States. Former President Donald Trump reportedly tried to expedite proceedings, but with little effect.

The pandemic complicated issues further. Mohammed was set to stand trial starting in early January of 2021, but proceedings have been delayed “indefinitely.”

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