Kudos to NYMag for spotlighting a reporter who actually does the hard stuff:
The Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg has reported from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay since the first detainee arrived in 2002. Last month, President Obama scuttled the office responsible for closing the center, which means Gitmo’s “media tent city” will be a permanent press encampment for the foreseeable future. Petra Bartosiewicz spoke with the veteran correspondent by phone from Gitmo’s Camp Justice, where Rosenberg has been covering pretrial hearings this month of the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
When he took office, President Obama promised to close Guantanamo within a year. Now the office dedicated to closing the detention center has itself been closed. What’s going on?
There are 166 detainees here right now. Congress has incrementally imposed harder and harder restrictions on their resettlement. Last year, two detainees went to El Salvador and two left dead. Nobody wants to be the person who sent someone back who will be behind the next terror attack. So it’s Guantanamo forever.
How many times have you been to Guantanamo?
I’d say I’ve averaged about a week a month over the past eleven years. My longest stay was 41 nights. To get here you have to fly to D.C. You show up at a golf course near Andrews Air Force Base at about five in the morning and then get on a plane to Guantanamo with the judge, the defense attorneys, the prosecutors, and the media. It’s the war court on a plane, everyone but the defendants…
Are reporters being monitored less now?
Well, there are two soldiers in the room with me right now, and there’s a red sticker on my phone that says, ‘This telephone is subject to monitoring at all times, use of this phone constitutes consent to monitoring.’ I think being on this island basically constitutes consent to being monitored…
How long do you think you’ll continue covering Guantanamo?
There are people who call the War on Terror the “forever war”; if this is the forever war, then this is the forever prison. I want to stay here for the 9/11 trial, which I think is years away. I feel like I have an institutional knowledge. Everyone else rotates in and out of here. The soldiers come and go, the lawyers come and go, most of the reporters come and go. I feel a responsibility to stay. I want to see how it ends. I’m a little concerned it’s never going to.