Pentagon to present plan for closing Guantanamo
(ABC News) — The Pentagon is set to present to Congress Tuesday its much-anticipated and detailed plan for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo meeting a deadline set by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Obama administration’s plan was supposed to have been presented to Congress in mid-November, but was delayed so that financial assessments could be inserted into the report.
On Monday, Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters that he anticipated the plan will be presented to Congress on Tuesday. “We understand that the deadline is tomorrow and we intend to do that,” said Davis.
“We’ve always been very clear about what needs to happen,” Davis added. “So I think you’re going to find as you read it, when you see it, that many of these things you already know.”
Last June, the Senate Armed Services Committee requested a plan for closing the detention facility, a long-stated goal of the Obama administration.
There are 91 detainees still at Guantanamo with 35 cleared for transfer to third countries, which can be a lengthy process as the United States requests specific security guarantees.
It is the remaining 56 detainees who will likely never be released that are the focus of much of the attention. Ten are currently being prosecuted at Guantanamo, another 22 will be referred to prosecution and another 24 will remain in continued detention.
But any plan to relocate detainees to detention facilities in the continental United States has been prevented by laws enacted by Congress.
Davis said the report will address three recurring realities at Guantanamo.
“We’re going to continue to transfer detainees to other countries that agree to take them,” he said. “And take steps to make sure that the threat that they pose to the U.S. is limited. Second, that we’ll continue to prosecute those that can be prosecuted. And third, that there’s this small group of individuals that can neither be safely transferred nor prosecuted.“
He declined to discuss what specific options might be included in the report to Congress.
Attention has focused on site assessments conducted by Pentagon officials last year about seven facilities in the continental United States to see if they could be used to house Guantanamo detainees.
Those locations include two facilities at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the Consolidated Naval Brig in Charleston, South Carolina, three facilities in Florence, Colorado including the super-Max facility, and the unused Centennial Correctional Facility in Canon City, Colorado.