The Pentagon is poised to release a much-anticipated report on shutting down Guantanamo Bay, even as Congress battles to block the transfer of the military prison inmates from Cuba to US soil.
Officials have said the report on US prison sites that could house the last Guantanamo detainees — enabling President Barack Obama to fulfill a key election pledge — would be published in the coming days.
Its findings are sure to fuel debate on the fate of dozens of longtime captives from America’s “War on Terror” who may well spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
Obama has been pushing since taking office in 2009 for the closure of the facility on a US Naval base in Cuba, but lawmakers have repeatedly thwarted him.
On Tuesday, Congress extended a ban on the transfer of detainees to the United States. The ban was inserted into a defense spending bill. Obama indicated he won’t veto the bill, as he has with previous versions, raising the prospect he may issue an executive order to get the job done.
Currently, 112 inmates remain at Guantanamo Bay, which has housed about 780 detainees since the start of 2002.
The Pentagon this year sent a team of experts to review US sites that could house dozens of the most dangerous detainees following the closure of the prison.
US sites considered include the Consolidated Naval Brig in Charleston, South Carolina; Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, and a federal prison complex in Colorado that is already home to Egypt’s Ramzi Yousef, who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, and “Unabomber” serial murderer Ted Kaczynski.
The Colorado prison comprises medium, maximum and supermax facilities. The Pentagon also considered a state prison in Colorado’s Canon City.
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