Senator Lindsey Graham says he has been asked by the White House to withhold comment about Friday’s Guantanamo Bay decision until he can meet face-to-face with the President after he returns from Asia. Graham says he will honor that request.
US Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that self-proclaimed September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees will be brought to trial in a civilian federal courthouse in New York. Holder said the Sept. 11 defendants should be tried near the site of the terrorist attacks, where their crimes occurred. Prosecutors expect to seek the death penalty. Holder said five other Guantanamo detainees, including a major suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole, will be tried through the military commission process.
Meanwhile, Congressman Gresham Barrett organized a teleconference call on the subject with media. Congressman Bob Inglis and Senator Jim DeMint participated as well.
Demint says it’s a real possibility that the detainees would be housed at some point at the Navy Brig near Charleston. “We know that this is a real possibility,” said Demint, “because we’ve talked to officials at the Air Force base in Charleston and the administration has queried them on the space that would be available to house the administrators who would be necessary to move and manage six to ten terrorists on our soil, then move them back and forth to various court proceedings.”
Demint questioned why the President would send terrorist masterminds away from an island fortress off of American shores to trials in American courtrooms which he says will now become targets for enemy combatants. “I know I wouldn’t want to be called for jury duty when these people are tried and would fear for myself and my family and I would have reason to considering the kinds of things that happen around the world when these terrorists are brought to trial.”
Inglis says the move does not make sense. “It’s just nuts not make use of the hundreds of millions of dollars we’ve spent to make Guantanamo a top prison facility,” said Inglis. “It just defies logic that we would close it, and introduce risk for the American people when the same trial could be held at Guantanamo.”
The Guantanamo renovations cost American taxpayers $275 million.
Inglis says he has written President Obama two letters respectfully suggesting that he tour the Guantanamo facility. “I wrote, ‘Sir, why don’t you invite the media to come with you to Guantanamo, as well as several world leaders, and let them take pictures. I think the conclusion would be that it’s a nice place.’ ”
Inglis says Guantanamo is no longer the facility pictured in negative news stories a few years ago. He says if a person has to be in prison, Guantanamo isn’t bad.