Pentagon team to review Colorado sites to house Gitmo detainees

Gitmo, Guantanamo Bay
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A Pentagon team will visit a federal prison and a state prison in Colorado in the coming weeks to evaluate potentially transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees, according to multiple reports.

The team will examine at least two facilities: Colorado State Penitentiary and the Federal Correction Institute in Florence.

The federal prison includes a maximum-security facility that houses some of the most dangerous federal prisoners, including Ramzi Yousef, convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

{mosads}The latest visits come after August tours of Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, S.C. Those visits drew fierce opposition from Republican lawmakers in those states.

President Obama has been working to close the military facility at Guantanamo Bay to keep a promise from his first campaign for president. But the administration has struggled to find a place to house those who are considered too dangerous to be transferred to other countries.

Right now, there are 114 detainees at Guantanamo. Fifty-three of them have been cleared for transfer to foreign countries.

A provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act would extend the prohibition on transferring Guantanamo detainees stateside.

The bill passed the House this week and will be taken up by the Senate next week. But Obama has threatened to veto it, mostly for issues related to budget caps.

In early September, when reports first surfaced that Colorado facilities might be among the sites considered by the Pentagon, two of the state’s GOP lawmakers came out against the idea.

“I oppose absolutely any plan to bring terrorists to Colorado,” Sen. Cory Gardner said in written statement in September. “The Guantanamo facility houses some of the world’s worst international terrorists, and it’s critical that we keep them there. That this reckless and irresponsible idea is being considered at all by officials in the Obama Administration shows a careless disregard for the safety and security of Coloradans. I will do everything in my power to ensure it does not happen.”

“Transferring some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists to our backyard places a target on Colorado,” added Rep. Scott Tipton. “Any plan to move terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to Colorado is unacceptable, and we will do everything possible to keep it from happening.”

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