Update (1049 ET): After the NYPost reported the US government was set to vaccinate 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with the COVID-19 vaccine before most Americans, the uproar by Republican politicians and others on social media may have forced the Pentagon this weekend to announce its plan to suspend vaccinating detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
"No Guantanamo detainees have been vaccinated," Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby tweeted Saturday, adding that, "We're pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols. We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe."
No Guantanamo detainees have been vaccinated. We’re pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols. We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe.— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) January 30, 2021
The plan to vaccinate some 40 detainees at Guantanamo Bay was put forth by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Terry Adirim last week.
Republicans were not happy that terrorists at Guantanamo Bay would receive COVID-19 vaccinations before most seniors.
"Outrageous. The Biden Administration is giving vaccines to terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. What do they say to American seniors and veterans still waiting for theirs?" Republican Rep. Steve Scalise tweeted Saturday.
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted: "Terrorists First was his big vaccine plan apparently. The new administration has a plan and as we warned you it's America Last."
However, former Hillary Clinton spokesperson Jesse Lehrich fired back at Republicans. She told Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy that the "Pentagon approved vaccines for Gitmo detainees so they can restart their war crimes hearings. There are 40 total Gitmo detainees. ~13 million Americans have been vaccinated in Biden's first ten days."
"The mastermind of 9/11 will be getting his COVID vaccination before you!" tweeted Jon Levine.
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''You can’t make this up,'' Tom Von Essen, the New York City fire commissioner during the 9/11 attack, was quoted as saying in Newsmax. ''The ridiculousness of what we get from our government. They will run the vaccine down to those lowlifes at Guantanamo Bay before every resident of the United States of America gets it is the theater of the absurd.''
That's right, guess who's first in line to get the jab? The New York Post reported Friday:
Here’s a real kick in the shin: chances are accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will get the COVID vaccine before you do.
Accused terror masterminds like KSM and other detainees at Guantanamo Bay will begin receiving the coronavirus vaccine, the Pentagon confirmed Friday, even as the United States continues to experience severe shortages of the miracle jab.
The Pentagon confirmed to the Post that prisoners at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba could get the vaccine as early as in the coming week.
''It will be administered on a voluntary basis and in accordance with the Department’s priority distribution plan,'' DoD spokesman Michael Howard said.
This means about forty terror suspects, including the man deemed the 'mastermind' behind the 9/11 attacks which killed almost 3,000 Americans, will likely receive the vaccine before hundreds of millions of US citizens.
The NY Post report cites another understandably outraged former law enforcement official:
Brian Sullivan, a retired special security agent with the Federal Aviation Administration, said, "I’m incensed. It’s totally outrageous. I’m 75. I haven’t gotten my COVID vaccine. They’re going to give it Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?"
Sullivan added it’s a scandal that the terrorists haven’t faced justice approaching the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. "This news adds insult to injury. It’s slap in the face to the 9/11 victims’ families," Sullivan said.
"The order to administer the inoculations was signed Wednesday by Terry Adirim, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, an appointee of President Joe Biden who was sworn in on Inauguration Day," it was revealed.
The other interesting angle to the story is that this action is presumably being taken to prevent a broader COVID-19 outbreak among federal and military administered prisons - and yet, the shot will still be "voluntary" for the terror suspect inmates.
Given there will likely come a time when common American citizens will be told something to the effect of "take the shot or else...consequences/ repercussions" (for example in the form of job or travel restrictions - rhetoric which is already being entertained), it's a bit ironic that the most dangerous terror suspects held at Gitmo will have "freedom" to choose to get vaccinated or not.