Kirk looks to halt transfer of Gitmo detainees to Illinois

An Illinois congressman wrote the president on Saturday to try to preemptively block terror suspects from being moved to his state for trial.

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who is running for President Barack Obama's old Senate seat, sent Obama a letter urging him to keep prisoners currently housed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba out of Illinois.

"If your Administration brings Al Qaeda terrorists to Illinois, our state and the Chicago Metropolitan Area will become ground zero for Jihadist terrorist plots, recruitment and radicalization," Kirk wrote in his letter, which was circulated to other state and federal officials in Illinois, asking for cosigners.

ADVERTISEMENT
The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday that a federal prison in Thomson, Illinois is under consideration by the Obama administration for a relocation of some terror suspects currently housed in Cuba. The administration had also been previously considering facilities in Standish, Mich. and Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas as destinations for the detainees.

Kirk said that Chicago, as the nearest city to Thomson, would be the likely location for any trials for the prisoners, making the Windy City or Rockford, Ill. as top targets for al-Qaeda.

"As home to America’s tallest building, we should not invite Al Qaeda to make Illinois its number one target," Kirk said, referencing Chicago's Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower).

"The United States spent more than $50 million to build the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to keep terrorists away from U.S. soil," Kirk added. "Al Qaeda terrorists should stay where they cannot endanger American citizens."

Kirk has sought to distinguish his profile statewide in the midst of the state's Senate election. On Saturday morning, he delivered the Republican weekly radio address.