President Obama’s decision to resume military trials for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will open the door for the prosecution there of several suspected 9/11 conspirators, including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Obama’s order, which reverses his move two years ago to halt new trials, has reignited arguments over the legality of the military commissions, despite ongoing U.S. efforts to reform the hotly debated system.
But fierce congressional opposition to trying Mohammed and other Guantanamo detainees in the United States left Obama with few options. And it forced him to reluctantly retreat, at least for now, from his promise to shut the prison down.
A handful of detainees have been charged in connection with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, including Mohammed. But the charges were dismissed following Obama’s decision to halt military commissions in January 2009.