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GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE—Victims of the 9/11 terror attacks expressed shock that the FBI may be meddling in the hearings here, and some speculated that it is part of an effort by the Obama administration to completely derail the hearings and force them into federal court stateside.
Families of those killed in the 9/11 terror attacks traveled here with the intent of watching their family members’ accused killers face justice.
However, many say they were horrified earlier this week when pre-trial hearings came to a halt over revelations that the FBI had launched an investigation into the accused terrorist’s defense lawyers.
“These things don’t just happen,” said Donald Arias, whose brother Adam was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. “I’m very suspicious of my government.”
“It wasn’t just some rogue FBI agent,” he told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “This had to be approved at the highest levels within the FBI to do this.”
“They had to know this would have some effect on the proceedings here,” Arias said. “Were I a very suspicious person, some could even say that was done purposely to derail these hearing and force it back into federal court.”
“It looks like a well orchestrated snafu,” added Lorraine Arias-Beliveau, Don’s sister.
Other families expressed outrage and frustration that the death penalty trials for the accused have been delayed without an end in sight nearly 13 years after the attacks were carried out.
“They’re guilty. Let’s try them fairly and then kill them,” said Charlie Clyne, whose wife Susan was killed in Tower One.
“Take them out to the Bronx Zoo,” Clyne proposed, referring to the detainees as "parasites." “No, I’m serious. Feed them to the lions, and this way we’ll turn them back into the streaming piles of steaming shit that they have always been.”
McGinly also said he was frustrated by the long delay in justice.
“I would like you to give me these people and just walk them down my driveway,” he said. “I’ll take care of them. Okay? Deep in my heart that’s how I feel.”
Judge James Pohl halted military proceedings on Tuesday so that defense lawyers could prepare a motion seeking further information into the FBI’s purported efforts to turn one of their members into an informant.
The FBI is believed to be investigating whether the defense team improperly enabled the public release of writings by accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
“Those suspicions” that the FBI investigation could be part of a bid to derail the hearings “are well founded, just look back at the IRS [targeting of conservative groups], Benghazi, and everything else,” said Bill McGinly, whose son Mark died on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center.
Other victims agreed with this assessment and lashed out at reporters in the room for protecting the Obama administration.
“I get a little bit disappointed in the press. I guess every time I read in the media, the real truth and the real things aren’t covered,” said Gloria Snekszer, whose sister Vicky perished when Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
“There’s always this political agenda that slants things which makes me a little hesitant to speak here today,” said Snekszer, who had never before been to Gitmo. “I’m asking all of you in the press for the truth.”
“I agree with Don’s suspicions,” she said. “The media, I have always felt, supports the things that I distrust about the government the most and I’m a little bit concerned with the media itself.”
“We suffered a terrible loss, the country suffered a terrible loss,” Snekszer said. “For those of you who are Americans: Whose side are you on. Please print the truth.”
“For the FBI to launch an investigation knowing what the risks are and knowing the impact it would have on these hearings hear, it’s not pretty,” added Arias.
Asked by reporters if they believed the Obama administration was intentionally meddling in the trials, McGinly said that his years-long ordeal has left him with little faith in the U.S. government.
“I have a suspicion that there was a motivation well beyond,” he said, pointing to Eric Holder’s Department of Justice. “How can you not have a suspicion with all that we’ve gone through in just the last two years, with everything that’s been happening?”
The “Benghazi [attack] is a perfect example of information that was delayed if it ever gets out, and the mainstream press … [is] giving this administration a pass when it shouldn’t be the case.”
McGinly expressed particular disgust with Mohammed, who was most recently spotted in the courtroom sporting a green military jacket and reading a copy of the Washington Post.
“We have detainees sitting in that courtroom who beheaded a reporter [Daniel Pearl] and if you saw the tape it was ugly, it was hacking away,” he said. “And if you put a machete in his hands in the courtroom, I wonder what he would want to do with it or would do with it. And now how do you defend that? It makes no sense to me.”
Several victims expressed outrage that the media focuses its attention on conditions at Gitmo for the detainees. Reporters had been gearing up to hear testimony this week from a guard at Gitmo’s highly secret Camp 7, where detainees such as Mohammed are held.
“If you go up there on that hill, you see what kind of conditions they have, and you see what the guards are living in,” said McGinly.” I mean, my God they don’t have it as good as the detainees and these are our people sacrificing. It makes no sense. Cover the real stuff.”
“Why are we so obsessed with the comfort of self-confessed murderers?” added Arias.
Claudia Jacobs, whose brother Ariel was killed in the North Tower, said that she was upset by the way detainees such as Mohammed emotionlessly sit in the courtroom.
“That was the awful part to see them there,” Jacobs said. “They’re just conferring with their attorneys like people on a legal TV show.”
“The juxtaposition of that with the crime and what they did to people that was hardest thing for me,” she said. “It was like somebody threw a knife into our heart basically.”