CNN Supervising Producer
Lorrie Triplett, whose husband Andrew died in the bombing of the USS Cole, said the president met with the group for one hour and discussed his reasoning for closing Guantanamo and explained what would happen.
He told the group that they are in the process of reviewing what to do but assured them that “those who need to be detained will stay and those that don’t need to be released,” Triplett said.
The President assured the families of Cole victims that Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged Cole bomber being held at Guantanamo, will not be released and that his trial will go forward. Although he told them he couldn’t say yet whether the trials would be military or federal.
“We were glad to hear that,” Triplett said.
Triplett traveled with her two daughters, Andrea 16 and Savannah 12, from Suffolk, VA for the meeting. She said she appreciated the opportunity especially since the Cole families never got to meet with President Bush.
“I never in my life thought I’d be sitting two feet from the president,” she said.
Obama came in to the room around 3:30 p.m. and went around the room and talked to each person in attendance.
“He hugged everybody that wanted a hug from him,” Triplett said. She wanted a hug.
“I am glad you are here,” Obama said to her.
She described the tone as “somber” and “appreciative” but not angry, even though people expressed their opposition to closing Guantanamo.
“He said nobody could understand the pain we have been through,” she said.
The meeting lasted from one hour. President Obama told the group that there would be an “open door” to the White House for them to get information and talk to staff.
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