The Department of Defense is back at it again, trying to figure out how it can go about transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S. military facilities. The Pentagon has told Congress that a team of experts is assessing possible sites for a transfer. First up was Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and is planning to tour the naval brig in Charleston, South Carolina next week. The possibility of transferring the detainees to civilian facilities is also being analyzed, reports NBC News.
“DoD personnel will consider surveying a variety of military and civilian sites to determine their candidacy for holding law of war detainees in a humane and secure manner,” a Pentagon spokesperson said. “Security and humane treatment are our primary concerns but, cost is also a factor we’re analyzing.”
The move is far from imminent. “The Pentagon made clear no decisions had been made and the site visits are aimed at getting a ‘baseline standard’ on costs and requirements of a detention facility to house Gitmo detainees,” reports CNN. And nothing could be done without the approval of Congress as lawmakers would have to change a 2010 law banning the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States.
Although President Obama sees closing the detention center as one of his priorities, any plan to move detainees to the United Sates is likely to launch a political fight. Sen. Pat Roberts from Kansas has already said he would vehemently oppose any effort to house detainees in Kansas. “I shut down this administration’s nominee for Secretary of the Army in 2009 to prevent moving any detainees to Kansas and will do it again if necessary,” Roberts said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Not on my watch will any terrorist be placed in Kansas.”
There are currently 116 detainees in Guantanamo. The administration wants to transfer as many as 52 detainees to other countries.