President Obama has ordered the purchase of a state prison in rural Illinois which will be the new location for a certain number of suspected terrorists.The detainees are now held at the American prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That’s a big step toward closing the Guantanamo facility. Some detainees will not be relocated to the new facility.
Administration officials say military tribunals for detainees will be held at the Thomson Correctional Center, about 150 miles from Chicago, a facility which will be transformed to meet top security standards.
For the moment, that leaves the Navy Brig near Charleston out of the picture, as well as another facility in Colorado which had been considered.
White House national security adviser James Jones says shifting detainees to Illinois will make the U.S. more secure and removes a recruiting tool that Guantanamo Bay has come to symbolize for terrorists.
But South Carolina Congressman Gresham Barrett asserts that moving the detainees onto American soil jeopardizes the safety of all Americans and represents a shift in national security policy, because of what he says is the threat of terrorist attack.
Senator Lindsey Graham favors closing Guantanamo Bay and has been in discussions for months with the Obama Administration on that. But he says trying enemy combatants captured on the battlefield in civilian courts is going down “a dangerous path.” Graham says the Administration has sent a confusing message to U.S. troops on the battlefield who no longer know when civilian law enforcement rules or the laws of war might apply.