US eyes Illinois prison to house Guantanamo inmates
The Obama administration has focused on an Illinois prison to house inmates now at illegal Guantanamo prison, Illinois officials said.
The Obama administration has focused on an Illinois prison to house inmates now at illegal Guantanamo Bay prison, but has not made a final decision, Illinois officials said on Friday.
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Governor Pat Quinn said they had "learned of a draft internal Obama administration memo" they said signals the government has focused on buying the Thomson Correctional Center in rural Illinois.
A portion of the prison would be used to house detainees from the videly condemned naval detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which was opened in 2002 to house terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 2001 attacks.
"We are told that the administration has not made its final decision, but that such draft memoranda authorizing federal officials to begin the next steps in an acquisition process such as this are routine," Durbin and Quinn said in a statement.
White House officials were not immediately available for comment.
President Barack Obama had vowed to close the Guantanamo Bay facility, where some of the detainees have faced strict military tribunals, by Jan. 22. Last month, Obama acknowledged he would not meet his original deadline, but still believes the prison can be closed in 2010.
Government officials have looked at other sites in the United States to house detainees and planned to bring the prisoners to the United States and try them in civilian courts as a security risk.
Durbin and Quinn said the facility, which is mainly empty, would be turned into a federal maximum security prison, and a portion of it would be leased to the Defense Department to house "a limited number" of detainees.
Reuters Last Mod: 12 Aralık 2009, 17:24