8 Years On, USS Cole Case Cold

Stymied by escapes and releases, investigators have gotten nowhere
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2008 11:46 AM CDT
8 Years On, USS Cole Case Cold
The Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Cole was hit by a terrorist bomb during a refueling operation in the port of Aden, Yemen.   (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, File)

Eight years after the daring terrorist attack on the USS Cole, the men responsible for the bombing have all either escaped prison or been released—or are in Guantanamo Bay, outside the reach of US courts. Though Bill Clinton promised justice, George Bush took office three months later, and 9/11 followed—making the case "the forgotten attack," a counterterrorism official told the Washington Post.

"After we worked day and night to bring justice to the victims and prove that these Qaeda operatives were responsible, we're back to square one," said one investigator frustrated by frequent stonewalling from Yemeni officials. One defendant escaped twice from local prisons, and the US continues to demand random inspections to verify his incarceration. At least two others later carried out suicide attacks in Iraq. (More USS Cole stories.)

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