“Keeping this country safe from terrorists is the highest priority of the Trump administration,” said the Justice Department as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, visit the U.S. detention facility and war court.
In the highest ranking known visit by a Trump administration official, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, were visiting Guantanamo Bay Naval Base today to get “an up-to-date understanding” of current war on terror operations, the Justice Department said. The Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, was also expected on the visit, according to an official at Guantánamo, the Miami Herald reports. “Keeping this country safe from terrorists is the highest priority of the Trump administration,” said Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior.
Other attorneys general have visited the site, including Michael Mukasey for the Bush administration in 2008 and Eric Holder for the Obama administration in 2009. Today’s visit comes more than five months into the Trump administration — even as the White House has yet to officially rescind Barack Obama’s 2009 closure order — and may be seen as a signal of support for the detention operation now holding 41 detainees and the war court where six men are in pretrial, death-penalty proceedings for the Sept. 11 and USS Cole attacks. The one-day visit was announced hours before a Saudi man was due at the war court for a pre-sentencing hearing. Ahmed al Darbi pleaded guilty to war crimes in 2014, in exchange for a commitment to let him serve out his sentence of up to 15 years in his homeland starting next year.