Today past and present crewmembers of the U.S.S. Cole marked the 10th anniversary of a deadly terrorist attack which killed 17 sailors and injured 39 more.
Officers, sailors and family members joined for the ceremony at the USS Cole Memorial. It was built from 17 granite slabs to symbolize the sailors who died, surrounded by 28 black pine trees to represent those sailors plus the 11 children they left behind.
Navy officials rang a bell and read the names of those who died at the exact time of the attack.
The ceremony today at Naval Station Norfolk, Cole's home port, featured a keynote address by Adm. J.C. Harvey, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, and concluded with a wreath-laying.
On Oct. 12, 2000, al Qaeda suicide bombers steered an explosives-laden boat into the Cole, a guided-missile destroyer, as it sat in a Yemen port on a fuel stop. A 40-foot hole was ripped into the side of the ship.
The Cole itself was deployed again in November 2003, and returned to the Middle East three years later.
"There's been a world of difference between the way we do security today for our ships than what we did 10 years ago," Commander Edward W. Devinney II, the Cole's commanding officer, told CBS Affiliate WTKR
. WTKR correspondent Juliet Bickford
reports that the ship also carries the American flag that flew over the ship in the days following the attack.
"That flag is dusty, it's dirty, it still has soot from the attack," said Devinney. "But it is a symbol of our resolve and our ability to return with pride."
Al Qaeda's attack on the Cole wasn't its first attempt: An FBI investigation
revealed that on January 3, 2000, militants in Yemen tried to bomb another U.S. Navy ship, the USS The Sullivans.
In that earlier attempt, the militants' boat was so overloaded with explosives that it sank. The boat and explosives were salvaged, and the boat refitted and reused in the Cole attack.
In 2007 family members of the 17 sailors killed won $13 million in damages and interest from Sudan, which a U.S. court had found allowed al Qaeda suicide bombers to fulfill their attack plans. Though Sudan denied responsibility and refused to pay, the award was eventually paid from Sudanese assets frozen by the U.S. government.
Last week, eight sailors and two of their spouses sued Sudan for damages from injuries incurred in the attack, including suffering from surgeries for bodily injuries, burns, scars, hearing loss and post-traumatic stress. The Assailants:
Although there have been several convictions in connection with the attack, most who have been linked to the Cole attck are now free or dead.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (left)
, a Saudi of Yemeni descent, was charged by the Pentagon in 2008 with "organizing and directing" the bombing. At a hearing at Guantanamo al-Nashiri said he confessed to helping plot the Cole bombing only because he was tortured by U.S. interrogators
The CIA has admitted al-Nashiri was among terrorist suspects subjected to waterboarding, which simulates drowning, while being interrogated in secret CIA prisons in 2002 and 2003.
After being held at "black sites" in Poland and Thailand, al-Nashiri was transferred from Morocco to Guantanamo Bay in 2003, then secreted out of the U.S. Army base in 2004 when officials feared the Supreme Court would order they be given access to lawyers.
Al-Nashiri was returned to Guantanamo in 2006, after the Washington Post revealed the existence of the program of secret overseas prisons.
In February 2009 the Pentagon's senior judge overseeing terror trials at Guantanamo, Susan J. Crawford, dropped charges against al-Nashiri, to adhere with President Barack Obama's order freezing military tribunals. Last August the Washington Post revealed
the administration has at least temp0orarily shelved plans to try al-Nashiri under reformed military commission rules.
The Justice Department said in its motion that "no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to al-Nashiri in the near future."
Jamal Mohammed Al-Badawi (left)
(AP Photo/Muhammed Al Qadhi, File)
was one of six men found guilty by a Yemeni court in 2004 in connection with the Cole attack; he and al-Nashiri (who was in U.S. custody) were sentenced to death, though he sentence was later commuted to 15 years in prison.
Yet al-Badawi managed to escape jail twice. In 2007 Yemen granted his freedom after he reportedly renounced terrorism and pledged loyalty to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.Fahd Quso
, a Yemeni who escaped from prison twice after being arrested and convicted in connection with the Cole attack, was freed by Yemeni officials in 2007.
British media recently quoted Pakistani security sources saying that al-Quso was killed in a U.S. drone missile strike
in North Waziristan last month. The same missile attack also killed Abdul Jabbar, who was allegedly plotting an attack on Great Britain. Maamoun Msouh
received an eight-year prison term for delivering money used in preparing and executing the attack and playing a close role in assisting al-Badawi. Ali Mohamed Saleh
and Murad al-Sirouri
were both sentenced in 2004 in Yemen to five years in prison for forging identification documents for al-Misawa, one of the suicide bombers.
Saudi-born Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal (a.k.a. Abu Assem al-Makky)
, who was named a suspect in the Cole attack, was arrested in Yemen in 2003 and later convicted for a 2001 gun battle in which 18 Yemeni Special Forces soldiers were killed. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
In November 2002 Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi (left)
, whom U.S. counterterrorism officials said was al Qaeda's chief operative in Yemen and a suspect in the Cole bombing, was killed when his car was struck by a Hellfire air-to-ground missile.