Kansans to Obama: Come to Leavenworth

Kansas’s congressional delegation on Wednesday sent a letter to the White House with a simple request for President Barack Obama: Visit Fort Leavenworth before you send Guantanamo Bay detainees there.

GOP Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback joined Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R), Dennis Moore (D), Jerry Moran (R) and Todd Tiahrt (R) in a letter that invited Obama and a task force under his administration to Leavenworth “to see firsthand that housing detainees there or using it as the site for the federal trials and military commissions is dangerous for the community and logistically unreasonable.”

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The lawmakers sent the letter after multiple media reports over the weekend said the administration task force is considering recommending transferring some of the most dangerous prisoners to a federally run facility in either Standish, Mich., or Leavenworth.

“We find these reports highly disturbing, both because of the lack of local support for such a proposal and the many security problems it raises for our Kansas communities,” the letter reads. “It is also important to note that no member of our state’s congressional delegation has been briefed on Leavenworth’s consideration. As elected representatives, it is our duty to convey the concern, anger and dismay of Leavenworth’s citizens.”

The congressmen also urge Obama to visit the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, which the president has never been to: “We implore you to go personally, and to give great pause to what it would mean for a community like Leavenworth, Kansas to accept something similar.”

Roberts and Brownback are particularly concerned about the impact on Fort Leavenworth, where the U.S. military runs an officers college. Roberts said about 2,000 acres of surrounding farmland would have to be bought out to increase security, and that administration officials seem ignorant in their knowledge of the Leavenworth facility and the stress that would be created.

“We would like to formally invite you and your task force members to visit Leavenworth, Kansas,” the letter reads. “During recent attempts to elicit information from your Administration, it has become very clear that high-level officials involved in this decision have not seen Fort Leavenworth’s facilities or the community surrounding them.”