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Per-Prisoner Cost at Gitmo Is Kind of Staggering

Try $13M per year for each individual, reports 'New York Times'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2019 9:00 AM CDT
The control tower is seen through the razor wire inside the Camp VI detention facility April 17, 2019, in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – The New York Times has crunched some numbers about Guantanamo Bay to come up with quite a stat: The US spends $13 million per prisoner each year. By the newspaper's numbers, it cost more than $540 million last year to pay for everything involved, including the related war court, and Gitmo currently holds 40 prisoners. One of the biggest expenses appears related to the 1,800 troops assigned to guard the prisoners at the US Navy base in Cuba. The government also regularly flies in attorneys, journalists, and other staffers. A separate NPR investigation earlier this month estimated it has cost $6 billion to operate Gitmo since it began housing terror suspects 18 years ago.

"My two words to summarize my time at military commissions was 'Wait—what?'" Retired Air Force Col. Gary Brown tells NPR. "At least a couple of times a week there was an instance where someone would tell me some expense we had or some individual we were paying for, and I would just have to stop in my tracks and say, 'Wait—what? How can that possibly be?' Many of them involved unnecessary expenditures or waste of money." Brown, who served as a legal adviser to the head of Guantánamo's military commissions before being fired, has filed a federal whistleblower complaint calling out "gross financial waste" at Gitmo. (Read more Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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