WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Sen. Dianne Feinstein still believes President Barack Obama’s 2008 promise of closing Guantanamo Bay and moving alleged terrorists to U.S. prisons can be a reality.
In a report from the Government Accountability that was released by the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman, six Defense Department and 98 Justice Department facilities are readily available to hold the remaining 166 Gitmo detainees.
“This report demonstrates that if the political will exists, we could finally close Guantanamo without imperiling our national security,” Feinstein said. “The GAO report makes clear that numerous prisons exist inside the United States—operated by both the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice—capable of holding the 166 detainees who remain at Guantanamo in an environment that meets the security requirements.”
The report states that the prisons can hold the detainees “safely and securely,” despite previous security concerns from Republican lawmakers which led to a bill that blocked off funding to move the detainees to the U.S. after Obama took office.
Feinstein says the security concerns are just “plain wrong.”
“To say that high-risk detainees cannot be held securely in a maximum security prison is just plain wrong,” Feinstein said. “The United States already holds 373 individuals convicted of terrorism in 98 facilitates across the country. As far as I know, there hasn’t been a single security problem reported in any of these cases. This fact outweighs not only the high cost of maintaining Guantanamo—which costs more than $114 million a year—but also provides the same degree of security without the criticism of operating a military prison in an isolated location.”
The GAO report did state though that its review “did not include an evaluation of whether specific U.S. facilities would be suitable for holding Guantanamo Bay detainees.”
Feinstein requested the report in 2008.
Alleged terrorists have been held at Gitmo since the start of the Afghanistan war in 2001.
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