Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gitmo to Chicago

Big Government has an exclusive story based on a leaked DOJ memo allegedly sent from Attorney General Eric Holder to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.  The memo reveals plans to move prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the Thomson Correctional Facility just 150 miles outside of Chicago in Obama's home state of Illinois.  ABC News adds a note of caution on the report:
An Obama administration official did not dispute the legitimacy of the memo but emphasized it is only a draft.
"This is a draft, predecisional document that lawyers at various agencies were drafting in preparation for a potential future announcement about where to house GTMO detainees,” the administration official said. “Drafts of official documents are often prepared for any and all possibilities, regardless of whether a decision has been made about the policy or if the document will be used."
Senator Dick Durbin and Governor Pat Quinn, released a joint statement approving of the potential move:
“As we have said many times, this move will have an enormous impact on our state – potentially generating up to 3,800 jobs and potentially injecting more than $1 billion into the regional economy,” the two said in a statement. “This is an opportunity to dramatically reduce unemployment, create thousands of good-paying jobs and breathe new economic life into this part of downstate Illinois.”
Governor Quinn had in fact been lobbying for the relocation to Illinois
"I understand that you are still considering other options," Quinn wrote in the letter, obtained by the Tribune's Washington Bureau, "but the federal Bureau of Prisons would be hard-pressed to find a similar facility with such extensive safety and security measures already in place anywhere in America.
 With state and local support the plan should be full steam ahead, other than one minor hitch.  Current law says that detainees can be moved to the US only for purposes of prosecution.  The White House told Illinois lawmakers, as recently as last week there would be no trials in federal courtrooms for detainees.  In order for the detainees to be moved the law must be changed which could meet with opposition from a variety of fronts.

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