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Obama Meets Families of Victims of September 11, Cole Attacks


U.S. President Barack Obama met Fridayat the White House with families of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen.

According to a White House statement, Mr. Obama met for an hour with some 40 family members to discuss his order to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Mr. Obama told the group closing Guantanamo will make America safer while making sure the guilty receive swift and certain justice.

The White House said the president spent the majority of his time answering questions from family members.

Some of the family members have criticized the decision to close Guantanamo, saying they have already waited too long for justice.

Retired Navy Commander Kirk Lippold, who was the commanding officer of the USS Cole when it was bombed, also attended the meeting.

Seventeen U.S. sailors died in 2000 when suicide bombers steered a boat loaded with explosives into the Navy destroyer.

On Thursday a military judge dropped charges against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a suspect in the USS Cole attack who is being held at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Al-Nashiri is accused of working with al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden to organize the Cole attack. The Pentagon says charges against him have been dropped without prejudice -- meaning they could be re-filed later.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says interrogators used harsh interrogation techniques on al-Nashiri. He says he confessed to involvement in the attack to get interrogators to stop.

Al-Qaida also carried out the attacks of September 11th, 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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